Heart and Sole

Photo courtesy from usatoday.com

Photo courtesy from usatoday.com

Pauline Ngo, Photojournalist

Owning cars is so normal to us as students here at YLHS; we may forget how blessed we are to even have one. We have the luxury of driving anywhere we want, not worrying about not having a ride to get from one place to another. This is not the case for James Robertson from Detroit, Michigan. Ever since Robertson’s car broke down nearly 10 years ago, he has walked 21 miles every day from and to work, never complaining once.

Every day, Robertson wakes up early and commences his long commute by riding a SMART bus from Woodward to a bus stop near Somerset Collection, a high-end mall in Troy. After he gets off the bus, he walks 7 miles to the factory he works at, where he earns only $10.55 an hour. At the end of his 8-hour shift, regardless of the weather, he walks back to the mall a little past 10 p.m. and rides the last bus in to Detroit, taking him to the State Fairground. When he gets off, he walks 5 more miles home in the dark.

After hearing about Robertson and his dedication and commitment, a college student named Evan Leedy, a freshman from Wayne State University, launched a GoFundMe webpage, which garnered more than $300,000, to help Robertson get a new car. “I’m always going to be in your debt — I will never forget this,” Robertson admitted to Leedy.

A board of advisors will be created to plan out where all the extra money from the donations will go. Some of the money will be set aside for auto insurance, gasoline, maintenance, and medical and dental care.

The next big step is to decide what car Robertson should get. “I’m a Ford fan. I remember the Taurus. They look comfortable, nothing fancy. They’re simple on the outside, strong on the inside — like me,” Robertson conceded. He is forever grateful for all the support and says, “I have to be careful how I act about this. The same God who brings you all these blessings can take them away. Hopefully, I’m ready for what happens.”

Aimee Lee(12) does not think she can be as dedicated as Robertson to walk that many miles every day because she has been living in an upper-middle class family all her life and has “sadly been spoiled many times.” She wishes she could be as dedicated as he is, but “the thing [she] does not understand is why he walks 21 miles away for work. Knowing how much he makes, many other places close to him should pay their employees the same wage.” Although Aimee does not know him or his situation, she thinks people who live in a more financially stable family can learn from him and realize how much their family provides for them.