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After Story Of Man Who Walks 21 Miles A Day To Work Goes Viral, Strangers Raise Thousands

James Robertson walks the marathon commute five days a week, rain or shine.

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Thousands of dollars in donations are flooding in for a Detroit man who walks about 21 miles to work every day because he has no other way to get there.

Read the story of James Robertson, his commute, and the public's response if you haven’t yet: http://t.co/8SMUHz1Kw7

Brett Brownell@BrettBrownellFollow

Read the story of James Robertson, his commute, and the public's response if you haven’t yet: http://t.co/8SMUHz1Kw7

12:59 PM - 02 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

James Robertson and his marathon commute were the subject of a lengthy profile in the Detroit Free Press on Sunday and his story soon spread across the country.

The 56-year-old has a perfect attendance record at his job at Schain Mold & Engineering, which is about 23 miles away from his house, the Free Press reported.

Can James Robertson's story inspire change? Let's #FixTransit & stop SMART's opt-out policy http://t.co/Sx7wPLwKD0

A Better Michigan@ABetterMIFollow

Can James Robertson's story inspire change? Let's #FixTransit & stop SMART's opt-out policy http://t.co/Sx7wPLwKD0

12:00 PM - 02 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

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To get there, he walks about 21 miles a day to make up for gaps in bus service. Robertson says he has made the journey five days a week since his car broke down a decade ago.

Schain Mold & Engineering told BuzzFeed News it would not comment on its employees.

Robertson sometimes gets a ride from friends such as UBS banker Blake Pollack, who noticed him walking every day. Pollack began offering Robertson rides when he is able, according to the Free Press.

But most of the time, Robertson is on foot. He makes the journey year round, even through Detroit's bitterly cold winters, leaving at 8 a.m. for his 2 to 10 p.m. shift, where he makes $10.55 an hour.

His trip also takes him through some dangerous areas of the city, but he told the Free Press he relies on faith to keep going.

“I'm not saying I'm a member of some church,” he said. “But just before I get home, every night, I say, 'Lord, keep me safe.'” He later added, "I should've told you there's another thing: determination."

Detroiter's daily trek inspires hundreds to donate http://t.co/gRcAMXk3Sa #JamesRobertson

Detroit Free Press@freepFollow

Detroiter's daily trek inspires hundreds to donate http://t.co/gRcAMXk3Sa #JamesRobertson

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As Robertson’s story began to spread, three different online donation pages were established to try to earn enough money for him to get a new car.

One of the page owners is 19-year-old Evan Leedy, who is a student at Wayne State University. Leedy told the Free Press he contacted the other page owners to consolidate their efforts.

gofundme.com

Leedy set his initial fundraising goal at $5,000. By Tuesday afternoon the donations had passed $200,000.

"Thanks to everyone's generous donations, this is skyrocketed into more than just a car," Leedy posted on the page. "I want to thank everyone for their continued donations. Every penny will help James in any way that he needs it."

Robertson also received offers for free cars, like this one from a local dealer.

Facebook: RodgersChevrolet

Pollack, Robertson's co-worker, told the Free Press he is planning to work to establish some sort of board to oversee the donations for Robertson.

"Putting a car in his driveway and just handing James the keys or filling his pockets with cash is not the answer," he said. "But with these resources now, we should be able to do something very positive for the guy."

As for Robertson, he was blown away by all the support. "Are you serious?” he said when told of the donations by reporters.

Detroit:Ever since his car quit on him a decade ago,James Robertson has walked 21 miles a day to get to and from work

Gabriel@qwertys4171Follow

Detroit:Ever since his car quit on him a decade ago,James Robertson has walked 21 miles a day to get to and from work

10:46 AM - 02 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Stephanie McNeal at stephanie.mcneal@buzzfeed.com.

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