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Friday 29 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# long journey
Tired of your commute? This man walks 21 miles to and from work every day
Meet James Robertson.

happeningnewsnow / YouTube

HOW DID YOU get to work today?

Public transport? Your trusty bike? A short stroll? It might have taken you 10 minutes, or an hour.

James Robertson (56), walks 21 miles a day to get to work and back. He lives in Detroit, where due to his own financial situation, and the city’s financial situation (cutbacks have led to fewer buses) he spends most of his day on foot or on buses. Sometimes, he gets a lift from a kind banker for part of the journey.

In five years of walking to work, he’s never been late. He relies on soft drinks for energy.

His story was featured on the front page of the Detroit Free Press last Sunday, leading to an outpouring of support.

People could hardly believe that Robertson’s journey from Detroit to Schain Mold & Engineering in Rochester Hills took up so much of his day. But in a city like Detroit, which has suffered huge financial issues over the past few decades, his story was also one demonstrating what the paper termed the “awful transit policy” that parts of Michigan have.

What happened next

Evan Leedy (19) was so moved by the first article about Robertson that he set up a crowdfunding site. He has teamed up with two people who had a similar idea, and made sure that the money raised will go straight to Robertson himself.

As of today, strangers have raised just under $200k to help Robertson get a car.

Leedy even got to meet Robertson last night, and posted an update on his fundraising page saying:

What an incredible journey. James is an amazing guy and it was so great meeting him last night. Blake Pollock and myself are working on creating a board/committee to handle the money that is raised. Attorneys, financial advisors, ect, are all coming into play. We are making sure to consider every angle of this fundraiser. It is so exciting that every penny that is being raised is going to James to help him with whatever he needs in life. Thank you all for your continued donations, kind words, and support.

In a video about his arduous daily journeys, Robertson spoke about the impact of his hours of walking.

“By the time Friday comes, you are mentally and physically drained,” he told Detroit Free Press, over footage of him nodding off on one of the many buses he takes each day.

As people gather to raise funds for Robertson, and help him buy a new car, there is a lingering issue, however – with Detroit’s transit system being as it is, James probably isn’t the only person making a long journey each day to keep themselves in gainful employment.

So what will those who hold the power in southeast Michigan do for people like him?

Read: These children’s lives were changed thanks to one photograph>

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