Factory worker James Robertson made the headlines last week as the man with the unusually tedious commute. Now, he need not walk such a long distance—a Ford dealership awarded the devoted employee with a brand new car.
Anyone who has heard or read about Robertson’s story (which was first reported by the Detroit Free Press) knows that there is no one else more deserving of such gift. The 56-year-old lives in Woodward in Detroit and is employed at Schain Mold & Engineering, which is located in Rochester Hills. The distance he travels to and from work is 23 miles—and he travels 21 miles on foot. He rides buses part of the way (because these do not the cover his entire route) and sometimes gets a ride from friend Blake Pollock.
Robertson’s 23-mile commute takes four hours. He works a 2pm -10pm shift, so he leaves home at 8am and arrives home at 4am. Robertson revealed that he started his marathon commute 10 years ago, when his 1988 Honda Accord gave up on him. With a job that pays $10.55 an hour, he cannot afford to purchase (as well as maintain and insure) a replacement.
Probably the most amazing part of his story is that despite the grueling journey he has to endure five days a week, regardless of the weather conditions, he has perfect attendance at work.
Upon learning Robertson’s story, people across the globe rallied to help him. Wayne State University student Evan Leedy spearheaded the fund-raising effort through GoFundMe.com. The goal was to raise just $5,000 to help the factory worker buy a car but the amount soared to over $310,000.
The sum will allow Robertson to purchase a luxury model, but a luxury model is not what he has in mind. The hardworking Detroit resident prefers something modest—a Ford Taurus.
A Ford Taurus is exactly what Robertson got on Friday. Accompanied by Pollock and Leedy, he thought he was going to the Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights to see which car he could buy. Instead, he was presented with the car he wanted. The dealership gave him a red 2015 Taurus as a gift. The model had a sticker price of more than $35,000.
As for the money Leedy raised, it will be set aside to help Robertson pay car insurance and maintenance for years. It will also be used for other expenses, such as health and dental care.
Photo credit: ford.com