Detroit Man Who Walked 21 Miles A Day To Work Surprised With New Car


The world’s most famous commuter thought he was meeting friends for lunch Friday to close out a wild week in the spotlight.

But James Robertson, whose 21-mile round-trip work commute garnered worldwide attention and more than $300,000 in donations, got more than just lunch.

The 56-year-old is now the owner of a brand new 2015 Ford Taurus.

Blake Pollack, who befriended Robertson 1½ years ago and has helped drive him to media interviews all week, helped pull off the surprise, suggesting they stop by a car dealership after lunch to pick up some brochures and start researching cars.

Robertson and Pollack were joined by Evan Leedy, the college student who set up a GoFundMe page on Robertson’s behalf. They walked into Suburban Ford in Sterling Heights, Michigan, and instead of brochures, saw a shiny red car topped with a big bow.

“There must’ve been 200 people there to welcome him,” Pollack said. “I thought he was going to fall over.”

When asked if he liked his new car, which has already been insured, Pollack said Robertson was quite clear.

“I don’t like it,” he said. “I love it.”

Before receiving his new wheels, Robertson had trudged the better part of a marathon each workday, taking buses part of the way — rain, snow or shine. But he never thought it was any big deal.

“I never thought anything I did would garner this much attention,” Robertson said.

After reading about Robertson’s commute in a Detroit Free Press article that went viral, Leedy was moved. Like Robertson, the 19-year-old lives and works in two counties, so he spends a great deal of time commuting himself. But Leedy has a car.

Leedy decided to set up an online fundraiser to buy Robertson a car.

“My first car cost $3,000,” Leedy said, “So I set the goal at $5,000. Within an hour, we’d raised $2,000.”

Leedy’s fundraiser quickly blew past its original goal and had raised nearly $313,000 Friday evening. Leedy said he plans to stop taking donations on Sunday.

Robertson, in a video message posted on the Free Press website, gave thanks.

“Everybody calls me the inspiration, but to those who have been great enough to donate and everything … it was really so welcome that I don’t know what to tell you,” he said. “You guys are the heroes.”


  • Brenda Jegede

    Awesome show of support to this man. We must advocate for policy changes to make public transportation available to all communities.

    • prettymissida

      If they would make public transportation available all over and not just u sum place it would b so much easier for ppl to get around…..i wrk n sugar land no public transportation goes out the I have to pay cab $25 there 6 days a week…..just like family my co workers will take me hm….such a blessing that he got

      • lenovo computer

        There is public transportation in Sugar Land. Call 281-633-RIDE for information.

    • The Logical Truth

      Can we give this blind man a Helping Hand?

  • Necole Solomon

    This man is an inspiration to all. You have people who live across the street let along a mile or two from there jobs and still don’t go to work. It’s truly a blessing to have good standing people acknowledging the good in you. I most definitely will keep you in prayer.This story needs to be on all young men & women page who make excuses about not wanting to work. May God Continue to bless you cause you definitely deserve every bit of it.

    • Raychelle Irby

      awesome show of Love to someone who was in need. He truly has a testimony. He walked for 10 years and didn’t complain. This is a Cinderfella story. The number 10 stands for testament.

    • p.el

      I agree. Mr. ROBERSON is a good strong man and he deserves that blessing. May God bless you, and no more walking to work. IT’S TIME TO RIDE!!!!!

    • The Logical Truth

      Can we come together to give this blind man a Helping Hand?

    • Li

      Not just young men and women. People period. Some older people need to learn from this too.

  • Stacie Stafford

    This is awesome

  • kwik

    So if they gave him the car, what happened to all that money donated???

    • Meme

      He’s planning on doing home repairs and retiring with the money.

    • mo

      They set up a retirement fund and he’s going to fix up his house with some of it

    • denise

      It is going towards mortgage and home repairs.

    • 2one5tv

      Put up for insurance and maintenance of the vehicle.

    • Tammy Crane-Bourget

      he needs to stop fixing his house up and MOVE..have you seen what Mr. James is going through right now??? :'(
      His own neighbours are threatening him with beatings, and violence if he doesn’t give them money!!! disgusting!

      • Nancy

        Mat God Bless him with a new home

  • Yolanda Parker

    Its amazing ..a beautiful blessing ..god sit high an he watches dedication pays off at the end ..god bless..

  • Pam

    This story is BEYOND touching! For it captures the epitome of the American dream in it’s purest form which in essence was also that of MLK and even more so that of God above…for mankind of all walks of life to be moved with compassion to provide for his fellow man when truly in need. May this gentleman continue to be a light in the earth as well as the many donors who funded the realization of his dream to have his own vehicle. Thanks so very much for featuring “real” news! O:)

    • Guest

      Teaches us all to not paint with too broad a brush… All the best to Mr. Robertson & Mr. Leedy… as well as all the real Americans out there who responded to the call…

    • The Logical Truth

      Can we give a Helping Hand to this Blind man?

  • Gb

    Why didn’t he have a car before? Did he know how to drive ?

    • Chissy

      did you read the article or watch the video? He had a car and when it broke down, he could not afford to fix it or get another car.

      • Betsyboo

        THat would be a BIG NO for her/him Chrissy!! SMH…

  • Rochelle Clay

    Im happy for him. This made me shed a tear. What an awesome testimony he has. #Amen.♡

  • Ecs

    I applaud him. Throughout high school in Jamaica, I walked 11.5 miles i.e. 19 kilometer to and from school most days (1969-1973). It was not easy. Transportation was unreliable. I would often have to leave school 1/2 earlier if I wanted to catch a bus – during exams as well. Today, I am woman, strong, and invincible!

  • Izetta Howell

    This is so amazing. Just shows that God sits high and looks low. We still have some amazing wonderful people out here n this world.

  • Patricia Sanguiliano

    We need more happy news like this story <3

  • miss T

    So if he raised over 300k where is the rest of the money going? With all that he could of bought a house that was closer to his job.

    • Betsyboo

      PPL please learn to read UP or read ALL of the articles before you start asking questions that have already been answered several times!!!!

  • So, nice. But, really? A Ford Taurus?! A piece of sh*t Ford Taurus? Smh. Could of at least got him a Honda, Acura, something. Could have got him a Tesla with that kind of money. Of course he is not picky, he’s grateful. But those of us who know cars, know they should have got him something better. Ok, that’s $26,000 assuming he got the top of the line Model. Where is the rest of the $230, 000. Paying for this college students college, grad school & car probably

    • TakeResponsibility92

      Wicked1 .. Perfect name! Sooo just a little info about Detroit and nearly all surrounding suburbs, cities, townships. The American Car Capital of the World. Chrysler .. Ford .. And GM run thick into the bloodstreams of Detroiters. If he’d gotten a Honda, he would’ve gotten a lot of looks. It may have dissapeared all together. That’s why a FORD.

    • Dee Muhammad

      anything beats a blank, especially when your poor or can’t afford something , why can’t we just be happy he was robbing or stealing to make ends meet

    • angeliseval

      If you had paid attention to the video, it said at the end that the money donated was going to go to his retirement and home repairs.

  • Shawn Ingram

    So where is the rest of the 300k?

    • Charisse Landry

      They said something about helping him plan for his retirement towards the end of the video. Lol, I was wondering too.

    • Vince Lawrence

      Repaired his home, some retirement money, and a foot doctor,,

  • Katina

    I’m so glad to see that people still care about others. I’m also glad to see that race was never brought up. It seems that here lately all you hear is negative things and it’s always got something to do with black and white. This made my day to know it’s still people in the world that care about each other and the color of your skin don’t matter!

  • gen Anderson

    Wow, I sit here with tears rolling down my face became this man said, If only my parents could see me now! My nephew is 23 years old with a baby on the way, and he LOST both parent’s from cancer 4 years ago. He is an only child and now lives in town with a buddy, but he walks to work rain or shine about 10 miles every day to Bartlett Milling in Statesville, N.C. . I pray the Lord sends an Army of Angels to help him find his ow home and get a vehicle. This man’s story is wonderful, God is still in control

  • Bill Boykins

    He’s blessed because, even through the rough patches in his life, he’s thankful and humbled! Bless this gentleman and those who gave!

  • Edward Bolds

    This story teaches us ALL to not paint with too broad a brush… All the best to Mr. Robertson & Mr. Leedy… as well as all the real Americans out there who responded to the call…

  • Stephanie McDuell

    I’m a single parent in Detroit Michigan I have a son who was 14 with autism he was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old I never get any support or any outside support would help with him I see all the funding and everything out there for autism but in Detroit Michigan and the inner city there’s no resources for young black children with disabilities oh and we walk everywhere we go we don’t have a car either is the bus bus for us

  • MelMel BX

    This was beautiful, and brought tears to my eyes. To see people caring for someone they don’t even know..what an inspiring story. I don’t know anyone that has never missed a day at work I hope his company truly appreciates him.

  • Betsyboo

    Ppl this MAN showed greatness and did NOT complain, he did what he had to do to make ends meet. Mr. Robertson did’nt come on here and speak of his issues because he saw how someone else benefited…He did’nt complain at ALL!!! So it would be nice to wish him well and Thank God that someone noticed an unspoken human and decided to do something. Thanks TO all THE Pollards and esspecially to Evan Leddy that reached out to help this man. Karma/Kindness comes around to us ALL, sometimes it’s no need to ask other people to see what we’re going through, if you have a good heart and goodness within you SOMEONE will notices just as they did for Mr. Robertson!! What he does with his $$ is up to him. Seemingly to be a good man I’m sure he’ll do what’s needed or even give back…..If you’re a good person someone will notice you as well!!! If you did’nt donate YOU really don’t have a reason to question. #goodluckandGODBlessMrRobertson

  • heidi

    He deserves it. Hopefully this is a good life lesson for the younger generation about quality work ethics. Congrats sir.

  • Louise Dickinson

    this says something about how the is USA paying people such low wages whilst, the wealthy are getting wealthier . That to me is disgusting . Everyone should watch this .. and i am not even from the USA ….

  • Rita Green

    I love stories like these. You get to see the good in people.

    This man was very dedicated to his job. It’s a shame that he has worked for a company for 13yrs and still cannot afford a car. Something is wrong with wages for the average worker in America.

  • rose


  • The article shows the true potential which lies within the America people.

  • The Logical Truth

    Can we give a blind man a Helping Hand?

  • lis

    Lets come together and help save a life.

  • Sassy Chick

    God bless everyone! I love Positive stories and people that are doing good things in the world!

  • Punkin

    I wonder what happened to the rest of the money

  • Roz

    God is Awsome! It is really inspiring to God at work! Enjoy the blessing as you have bless many with your story.

  • Kathy G.

    A long overdue blessing. This story gives the true definition of a strong black man, get the job done by any means necessary. I hope he gets to enjoy a long vacation.

  • Teresa O.

    It is an awesome story. He should take some of that money and pay it forward to someone else also in need. As a single mom barely able to get by even I try to pay it forward. People helping people is the way the world goes round. #payitforward

  • Tiip SwaggQueen Cross

    This is truly and inspirational story, I wish everyone could view this story. But when you think your going through there is always someone who is doing worst, but still motivated to accomplish whatever tries to block them.

  • D.W.

    Loading… Hope in white folks restored at 58%….Please Wait

  • Shirlee Iamtrulyblessed Collin

    People are so rude it’s not about you it is about the man that did not have a car at all a Ford is better than nothing if you don’t like him to have a ford go out spend your money and buy him a different car a new ford is not that bad.

  • tammy

    He is a saint and he deserves a new car a nice place to live I am proud of you sir and If one man isn’t proud of you then there not a man God Bless you 🙂

  • Guest

    The story is quoted incorrectly! He walks over 10 miles each way, not 21 each way. I have a feeling several things are misquoted in this version of the story! Like how long it took to walk might also be misquoted, the amount of money he made, or the hours of sleep.
    He seems like a sweet man to me, and it was a sweet gesture from the banker and the kid. He doesn’t seem to be a drunk or anything of that sort. As to what happened with the total some of the money… well unless some of it is my money I feel that isn’t my business. I truly believe the kid either used it to better this man’s life or others, but I guess it is to the individual to decide. Everyone who donated the money DID donate it to improve this man’s life, and that really is up to the people who donated to do if they believed in him enough to want to do so. I think they succeeded in that. With that money they could probably by him a small house or a condo outright.
    We can judge this man’s life and choices all we want and not donate if we see fit. Others have the right to donate if that is what they see fit. Just like a person with a cup on the sidewalk it is up to you if you want to give them money or not.
    I am quite sure the actual story is true. See the actual news cast below. If we actually as individuals think it is a cause worth supporting is up to the individual.
    I did not personally donate, but don’t judge those that felt that they wanted to.

  • Julie

    Pay attention welfare losers!

    • Zeesizzle

      Very Christian of you, Julie. I’m sure Jesus would have said the same thing.

  • lucy

    awesome story im very happy for him and the student that raised the money for him he is an angel send from god to help him god bless him this is a wonderful story i wish i could do something like this for someone it really touch my heart

  • Nancy

    He walked every day, and we know how tired we are getting off work, Then he has to walk home, May God bless him, He is a responsible man, people need to leave him alone, If they need money then they need to get to work!