Detroit Man's Commute Is 21 Miles— on Foot

'Free Press' story spurs crowdfunding effort
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2015 6:38 AM CST
Detroit Man's Commute Is 21 Miles—on Foot
In this Jan. 9, 2015, photo, James Robertson, 56, of Detroit, prays before eating in the break room before his shift at Schain Mold & Engineering in Rochester Hills, Mich.   (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Ryan Garza)

At 8am, it's time for James Robertson, 56, to leave for work—for a job that starts at 2pm. That's because he makes much of the 23-mile journey on foot, resulting in a 21-mile round-trip walk every day, the Detroit Free Press reports. His car broke down about a decade ago and he's been walking ever since, combining the slog with bus rides in the few areas where buses are available. Once he's worked from 2pm to 10pm, he heads home again in the dark, normally arriving around 4am. With some buses shut down for the day by that point, he walks a total of 13 miles, the Free Press notes. Faith and determination keep him going, he says. He was mugged once, his boss says, though Robertson himself only mentions that he walks through some dangerous areas.

But the many miles have their benefits: He loves his co-workers, and his boss's wife cooks him dinner every night. "She takes care of James. And he's a personal favorite of the owners because of his attendance record," says the plant manager at Schain Mold & Engineering. That record is perfect. "I set our attendance standard by this man," the manager says. And this story has a happy ending. Now that Robertson's story is known, people are coming to his aid. Yesterday's front-page Free Press story spurred a number of crowdfunding efforts, which as of last night had brought in more than $30,000, the paper reports. Others offered him rides. Robertson's reaction when the paper told him: "Are you serious?" (More Detroit stories.)

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