Okay, you hate your commute. The congestion. The stop-go, stop-go. The construction. The detours. Or if you use public transport: the delays, the crowds, the heat. Stop complaining. Do you walk 21 miles every day? No? Then you don’t know what a bad commute is. James Robertson was recently the subject of a profile in the Detroit Free Press because he puts in 21 miles a day on foot to get to and from his job. He has done so for the last ten years. Why? Because his car quit a decade ago, and because public transit in Detroit is so abysmal, and because the job only pays $10.55 an hour, and that’s just not enough for him to be able to afford to buy and maintain a car.
“Robertson’s daunting walks and bus rides,” writes the Free Press, “in all kinds of weather, also reflect the challenges some metro Detroiters face in getting to work in a region of limited bus service, and where car ownership is priced beyond the reach of many.” His story quickly went viral. Mic.com reports “It prompted an outpouring of support in states and counties far removed from Detroit, from people who had never met Robertson; it was picked up by myriad news outlets and spawned a wildly successful GoFundMe page that raised more than $190,000 in just two days.”** Robertson has a perfect attendance record at his job and is well-liked by his boss (not well-liked enough, a cynic might observe, to deserve a raise). In any event, he has enough money now to buy a new car, take a vacation, and maybe get a new pair of shoes.
** The fund is now at $225,000