James Robertson, who walks 34 km a day to work, to get help with new wealth
Crowd-funding campaign started by university student raises $280K for Detroit man
A team of financial advisers will help a Detroit man who walks nearly 34 kilometres a day to get to and from work after a crowdfunding campaign raised more than $280,000.
Last week, the Detroit Free Press reported that James Robertson rides buses part of the way from Detroit to his factory job in suburban Rochester Hills, Mich., but because transit doesn't cover the whole route, he ends up walking about 13 kilometres before his shift starts at 2 p.m. and 21 kilometres more when it's over at 10 p.m.
The 56-year-old has been making the trek to his job, which pays $10.55 an hour, since his car broke down a decade ago.
Robertson told NBC News this week's snow storm was not a major hurdle in getting to work.
'I don't get any sleep until the weekend'
"This was small compared to what we had last year. I went through it, and I didn't miss a day. Five days a week. I don't even get any sleep until the weekend," he said.
Lately, Robertson has been getting occasional rides from Blake Pollock, a banker who passes him walking every day, and finally asked where he was going.
Pollock tipped off the Free Press, and the newspaper put Robertson's story on its front page last week.
Since then, multiple people started crowdfunding efforts to help him buy a car and pay for insurance. Some have offered to drive him for free and an automaker and a car dealership have offered to give him cars.
Evan Leedy, a 19-year-old student at Wayne State University, read the story and started a GoFundMe site with the goal of raising $25,000 US.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the campaign had raised more than $280,000.
"I just wanted to get him a car to get back and forth to work, but thanks to everyone's generous donations, this has skyrocketed into more than just a car," he wrote on the crowdfunding page.
Team of advisers
With money continuing to pour in, Robertson has asked Pollock to arrange for a team of advisers to help him manage the windfall.
Pollock told NBC News he already has some volunteers on board.
"An attorney from a very large Detroit-based law firm, one that everybody knows, an adviser from a very large investment firm that has an incredible record of community involvement, charitable work," he said.
Robertson said he's flattered by the attention and amazed strangers would step in to help.
With files from The Associated Press