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a Detroit man who has been walking 21 miles a day to get to and from work for over a decade inspired a Michigan college student to launch an online campaign to buy him a car. Thanks to the generosity of strangers, the campaign has raised more than $60,000 in a day.
Since buses don't cover the entire 23-mile route, 56-year-old James Robertson spends nearly all of his free time during the week commuting to his $10.55 an hour factory job in Rochester Hills. According to the Detroit Free Press, which published a front-page story about him Sunday, Robertson begins his trek at 8 a.m. to catch buses that take him to a Troy, Mich., mall before he walks 7 miles to Schain Mold & Engineering, where he begins his 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. shift. And according to his boss, Robertson has a perfect attendance record.
His commute home takes even longer. Leaving work after 10 p.m., Robertson walks the 7 miles back to the mall, where he catches the last bus of the day, just before 1 a.m., taking it as far as it goes: the State Fairgrounds on Woodward, just south of 8 Mile. From there, he walks roughly 5 miles back to home through what he describes as a dangerous section of town.
"I have to go through Highland Park, and you never know what you're going to run into," Robertson says. "It's pretty dangerous. Really, it is, from 8 Mile on down. They're not the type of people you want to run into. But I've never had any trouble." (According to Wilson, Robertson got mugged once but doesn't like to talk about it.)
By the time he gets home, at 4 a.m., it's almost time to do it again.