After years of walking 21 miles a day to work for nearly a decade and never missing a day, James Robertson, has finally found peace. He has moved to the suburbs and started a new life.
This weekend the Detroit Free Press reported that Robertson had moved to the suburbs in Troy and is living well. Gone are the ridiculously long walks to work. Instead he now commutes 20 minutes to work. He watches sports on his new 60-inch screen TV. Furthermore, gone are the moochers who were all over him, asking for money.
Robertson’s story was picked up across the globe, making him an overnight sensation. And while the unwanted fame brought a ton of good to the 56-year-old Robertson, it also made him a walking bulls-eye. The donations came in droves to a set up GoFundMe account – a whopping $350,001. There was even a new car.
A Ford dealership gave him a new red Ford Taurus – loaded of course. Just as Robertson’s life was changing for the better, an older gentleman, who had just hit the lottery for $20,000 was found stabbed to death in the basement of an abandoned house in the city of Detroit.
Robertson found out quickly that with fame and money, comes new found friends. People started to ask him for money. Everyone wanted a piece of him, prompting him to move twice in three weeks. He even had to file a personal protection order against his ex-girlfriend, who also happened to be his landlady. His neighbor even wanted to get paid after he mistakenly clipped his house with his new car. This started Robertson to worry.
Not only is Robertson is now settled into his nice apartment, he is also set for life thanks to some very kind people. Even with the windfall, he refuses to quit his day job. Despite earning a meager $10.55 per hour – at SME Schain Mold, a manufacturer of plastic parts – Robertson plans to keep on working at the place he has essentially called home the last 16 years.
Most importantly, his money is now being managed by a team of financial experts – for free. He will even have healthcare soon, through the Affordable Healthcare Act.
In the meantime, Robertson’s plight has shed a very public light on the city’s mass transit woes, the need for reform to automobile coverage as well as income inequities throughout the region.
Zack Burgess is an award winning journalist, the Editor-at-Large for the Michigan Chronicle and Real Times Media. He is the Director/Owner of OFF WOODWARD MEDIA, LLC, where he works as a Writer, Editor and Communications Specialist. His work can be seen at zackburgess.com. Twitter: @zackburgess1