Hard work and integrity leads to blessings as a man in Detroit went from having little to now having more than he needs. From having to walk miles to get to work to being given a new car and to top it all off, he now has an apartment he can call his home.
The 56-year old James Robertson made headlines months ago when 19-year-old college student, Evan Leedy launched a crowdfunding campaign for the old man simply because he was inspired with Robertson's resilience and motivation to walk 8 miles to get to his job in Schain Mold and Engineering. After a full day of earning just $10.55 per hour, Robertson would then walk a 13 miles to get home and rest for the night. A total of 21 miles every single day.
The aim of Leedy's modest campaign was to raise enough money to buy Robertson a new car. Ever since Robertson's car stopped working and the bus service in his area had been cut back, he has been walking miles to and from work daily.
The crowdfunding campaign led to a surprising $360,000 tax-free donation from strangers willing to give to this man who has given much and had not asked for anything in return. An addition to the hefty fund raised; a new Ford Taurus worth $35,000 was given to the already overwhelmed Robertson by an auto dealership that is more than willing to provide for his need.
The latest development in the continuing level up of this humble man's life is the change of address. Robertson now lives in a new and bigger apartment in Oakland Country's Troy. Though he still works in the same old company and still has a job as a plastic-molding operator, which he has held for 16 years, he says he now feels more secure in his new neighborhood.
"I may have been born there, but God knows I don't belong there anymore," he said.
Due to his new found fame and windfall of money, Robertson made the difficult decision of severing ties with the people from his old life especially his ex-girlfriend and landlady, all whom were quick to get money off from him.
The Detroit Police were fast to assist Robertson in his change of address, as they were also concerned for his safety after an incident wherein an 86-year old lottery winner was found dead in a vacant house.
Robertson's new address is being kept private and a personal protection order against his former landlady had been issued for his added security.
His new life seems to be going smoothly and to keep him on track a team of financial experts are on hand to aid him in managing his money.
Rebecca Sorensen of the UBS Financial Services, a senior vice president for wealth management has urged Robertson to place the $351,000 of the crowdfund earnings in a trust. The earnings from the trust can be used to pay for Robertson's daily needs and is more than enough to pay for the rent of his new apartment and the insurance of his new car. This means that Robertson's nest egg will remain untouched until he retires.
"So many people have stepped up simply because he is an unselfish and deserving person. He wants the majority of the funds he received to be invested in a way that will someday provide an income stream when he retires, to augment his Social Security checks," Sorensen said.
But what makes Robertson unique is his heart to give back; he recently gave to the Salvation Army fundraiser more than a week's take-home pay. He has also stated that in case anything happened to him, he would like his entire savings to be given to the Salvation Army to help with their needs.
"I feel like it's this way - why should I enjoy all this by myself? I should share it," he said.