Last month, The Detroit Free Press reported a story about a Detroit Man named James Robertson, 56, who walked 34 km each day to and from work. The story went viral on the internet and was featured in the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun. A crowdfunding campaign on social media raised over $300,000 and a shiny new car with insurance for him in less than a week.
James Robertson rode the bus part of the way, to and from his factory job in suburban Rochester Hill. Because the fare did not cover the entire route, he was forced to walk about 8 miles before his shift begins at 2 p.m. and 13 more when it’s over at 10 pm. He’s been doing this for 10 years, ever since his car broke down in 2005. He’s also maintained a perfect attendance for more than 12 years.
Evan Leedy, a 19 year old student at Wayne State University, read the story and built a website-GoFundMe- with the goal of raising $5,000 via the help of a little social media marketing. As of March 17, 2015, the campaign raised $349,904 and has earned 24K shares on Facebook and 1.9K and tweets on Twitter.
Update: Robson is still working for the same factory in Rochester Hills, which pays him $10.55/h, but with the help of his sponsors he has been able to reduce his 1h long walk to a 20 minute drive. As well, he has now settled into a new, suburban Detroit apartment, where he feels more secure. Most of the money raised is being managed by a financial team and is held in trust.
Check out his thank you message to the community:
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