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$310K Raised for Guy Who Walks 21 Miles to Work

James Robertson gets a new Ford Taurus, too
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2015 2:45 PM CST
$310K Raised for Guy Who Walks 21 Miles to Work
In this Jan. 28, 2015, photo, James Robertson, 56, poses for a photo outside of his home in Detroit.   (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Ryan Garza)

(Newser) – The story of a Detroit man who walks 21 miles round-trip to work has just taken a turn for the better, the Detroit Free Press reports. Thanks to a banker, a college student, and a car dealer, 56-year-old James Robertson will be able to take a load off. It started when the banker, Blake Pollock, heard Robertson's story and shared it with the Free Press. Then Wayne State University student Evan Leedy raised more than $310,000 for the factory worker on GoFundMe. Today, a local car dealer gave Robertson a fully loaded 2015 Ford Taurus to make his commute easier. The dealership's manager explains that he has enough trouble getting his own people to work on time: "There's nobody who deserves it more than him," he says.

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"I've never picked up a hitchhiker in my life, [but] I was curious," says Pollock of the day he gave Robertson a lift and heard his story. Once Pollock spread the news, the story quickly caught the attention of national media; ABC even chose him as "Person of the Week." After launching the funding campaign, Robertson met Leedy on Monday at a local pub, according to a Wayne State University press release. Robertson is "kind of a shy person," says Leedy. "He doesn't like accepting help. This is why he's been walking back and forth to work for 10 years." Meanwhile, Robertson's grinding commute has shone a spotlight on Detroit's public-transportation issues: "That story is heartbreaking, and it's not necessary," says the city's transit chief. "There's more that we can do." (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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