Teen Raises $284K For Detroit Man Who Walks 21 Miles To Work

Teen Raises $284K For Detroit Man Who Walks 21 Miles To Work Credit: People Magazine

UPDATE: The total is up to $284K. Wow.

This is a nice story. I continue to be heartened by the number of people who are willing to help an individual get over an obstacle:

Two days ago, Detroiter James Robertson couldn’t afford a car to drive to work more than 20 miles away from his home — and today he can afford a small fleet.

After the Free Press told of Robertson’s arduous 21-mile trek to and from his suburban factory job, the story inspired thousands of donations from across the nation. A day later, the soft-spoken machine operator got to meet the computer student from Wayne State University who launched an Internet crowd-funding site to gather more than $180,000 — a figure expected to continue to climb today.

At Mr. B’s Food & Spirits bar in downtown Rochester, the two hugged and were interviewed Monday night for national television shows and People magazine. The weathered factory guy, munching on pizza and wearing heavy work boots in which he’s made countless walks to work, sat beside Evan Leedy, 19, of Macomb Township, a fresh-scrubbed techie who conceived the cash-churning GoFundMe web pagein support of Robertson.

“I’m always going to be in your debt — I will never forget this,” Robertson told Leedy, as the younger man in a sweater-hoodie shook his hand.

“I want to show you all the comments people are saying about you,” Leedy replied, as the two bent over the teen’s cell phone. Leedy read aloud samples of more than 3,700 posts whose writers made donations from $1 to hundreds of dollars to give to Robertson. His initial goal was $5,000.

Many of those who saw Sunday’s front-page Free Press story were so impressed with Robertson’s work ethic — he has a perfect attendance record in years of factory work — “that they say you earned this money,” Leedy told Robertson, 56. Another crowd-funding effort, launched by 31-year-old Chrysler-Fiat communications manager Jiyan Cadiz, raised nearly $6,000 before GoFundMe administrators asked Cadiz to redirect future donors to Leedy’s page, Cadiz said in a text Monday night.

Robertson said he was only half surprised by the outpouring of aid because, “I gotta say, this is Detroit, this is how people are in Detroit. They say Los Angeles is the city of angels. That’s wrong. Detroit is the real city of angels.”

By Susie Madrak