After a Detroit man caught international attention when local news reported he walked 21 miles a day getting to work and back, a flood of donations changed his life -- bringing the man both a car and $360,000.
In 2015, The Detroit Free Press reported that James Robertson, 57, walked 21 miles on a daily round trip to his factory job and home again, prompting many to donate thousands through GoFundMe.
Donations kept flooding in 24/7 until he had to stop the campaign himself.
At $360,000 the money raised was far more than enough to buy almost any car he wanted.
However, Robertson - dubbed “The Walking Man” - chose to drive to work in his beloved 2015 Ford Taurus.
“I love this car,” explaining he specifically chose the Ford because “It’s like me — simple on the outside, durable on the inside.”
“I’ve always been an American car guy, all the way. Matter of fact, when I got my car fixed, they gave me a Hyundai for a day. I’d never want one of those,” he added.
But the car comes with a downside, he says: He’s gained “too much” weight.
Despite being $360,000 richer, he also still works at his factory job.
“His attendance has never faltered, not one day,” plant manager Todd Wilson said. “That money, none of it changed him one bit. James is still one of the most loving, caring people I know.”
However, Robertson did choose to use the money towards finding and furnishing a new apartment to live in. Previously he shared a place with roommates who gave him a hard time, he said, who were drug users and drank a lot of alcohol.
Still, he says, while the money has made his life easier, what makes him truly happy is the kindness he received.
“Before James drove off in his new car to go home, he gave me a big hug and said, “It’s not even about the money and the car, it’s about random strangers like you and Blake wanting to help a guy like me just doing what I was blessed to do,” wrote Evan Leedy, 20, on one of the GoFundMe campaigns he started for Robertson.