The next time you hear someone complaining about their "horrendous" commute you may want to tell them about Detroit resident James Robertson, whose daily round trip journey to and from work is an astounding 46 miles. Not impressed? How about if we tell you that about 21-miles of it is completed on foot!
Robertson's work day begins at 8 am in the morning when he leaves from his home in central Detroit and takes a bus that drops him seven miles short of the Schain Mold & Engineering factory in Rochester Hills, where he works as an injection molder. Since there is no other public transportation available, the 56-year-old covers the rest of the distance walking - an effort that takes him about three hours. Though his shift does not begin till 2 pm, Robertson tries to get there by 12.30, so he can spend a few minutes relaxing and talking to plant manager Todd Wilson.
When work is done at 10 pm, Robertson begins the seven-mile trek to the bus stop where he picks up the only option he has at that late hour - a bus that drops him five miles from his house. By the time he gets home, it is almost 4 am! The grueling schedule leaves little time to sleep. Robertson tries to get his rest by taking short naps while on the bus and sleeping as much as he can, during the weekend.
The Detroit resident says that he used to have a car, but it died about ten years ago. Though he makes decent money, he has been unable to save enough to pay for a vehicle and car insurance. Since none of his coworkers live nearby, his only option has been to walk.
While Robertson could have looked for a job closer to home, the dedicated man who has never missed a day of work, says that it has rarely crossed his mind. That's because he cherishes his time with his coworkers. Besides, if he left, he would miss the scrumptious dinner that Todd Wilson's wife sends in for him, every single day. As to why he hasn't moved closer? Robertson says that he loves the central Detroit area where he has spent most of his life and could never think of moving elsewhere! But as he is getting older, the commute is taking its toll, and he often arrives at work, exhausted.
Fortunately, that may soon be a thing of the past. That's because a lot has changed since Robertson's story was first published in the Detroit Free Press on February 3rd. After reading the article, Evan Leedy, a student at Wayne State University was so impressed, that he decided to help by setting up a crowd-funding page. The young boy had hoped to raise just $5,000 USD to help Robertson buy a car. In less than two days, donations of over $200,000 USD have been pledged, and the funds are still pouring in!
Robertson, who recently met with Leedy to thank him, says he is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. The 56-year-old who has no intention of quitting his $10.55/hour job or moving from his current home has no idea what he is going to do with all the money. Hopefully, he will use some of it to buy a decent car to help ease the daily commute.