Some days, the world brings a tidbit of good news along with the rest of the crushing wave of bad things that happen all the time. Today is one of those days.
The Detroit man who became famous when the Detroit Free Press reported on his 21-mile walk to work, James Robertson, just got a new apartment. Robertson was able to land his new place with the thousands of dollars in online donations that poured in after the Detroit Free Press detailed the grueling four-hour trip Robertson became accustomed to making daily.
Here's the outrageous story: Sleeping only two hours a night, Robertson habitually left his home at 8 a.m. to walk eight miles before arriving at the factory where he worked at 12:30 p.m. After working the 2 to 10 p.m. shift, he turned back around and walked 13 miles home to his apartment in downtown Detroit, arriving home at 4 a.m. It was longer to get home because the route for the bus he took partway in the morning ended before his shift was over. He told the Detroit Free Press that the walk home was even harder than the walk to work because of the dangerous neighborhoods he had to walk through. But since Robertson made the papers in February, donations from crowdfunding sites have raised thousands of dollars, enabling him to exchange a room in his ex-girlfriend's house downtown for a one-bedroom apartment in suburban Troy, Michigan.
After his story went viral, Robertson was gifted a new Ford Taurus from a local car dealership. He also received $350,000 in donations from crowdfunding efforts on GoFundMe, which he now has in a trust. A team of financial experts is helping Robertson manage his newfound money. According to Evan Leedy, 19, who created the GoFundMe page, Robertson wants to work to donate some of the money he received to other causes. Leedy told the Detroit Free Press:
I talked to James about it, and James wants to give people the opportunity to give to other causes. And I think James didn't want people to think that he was greedy.
Robertson told Detroit police he didn't feel safe in his living situation in February, after he began receiving donations online. People consistently started asking him for money, he said. Police abruptly moved him to a temporary location days after the news of his crazy commute broke, but Robertson has since decided where he wants to live permanently. He said he feels more secure in Troy, in Oakland County, than in his old residence near the New Center area of Detroit. He told the Detroit Free Press:
I may have been born there, but God knows I don't belong there anymore.
Robertson did not leave a forwarding address with anyone from his old neighborhood, in an effort to start anew.