DETROIT (AP) — A man who said he walked 21 miles to and from work each day is settling into a new, suburban Detroit apartment after receiving thousands of dollars in online donations
James Robertson said he feels more secure in Oakland County’s Troy after moving north from his Detroit home to escape people asking him for money, the Detroit Free Press said Sunday.
The 56-year-old gained celebrity after the newspaper reported earlier this year that he began walking to a job at an auto parts factory when his car stopped working in 2005 and bus service was cut back.
A local college student launched a modest crowdfunding campaign to a buy a new car. It led to $360,000 eventually being raised and Robertson receiving a new, $35,000 Ford Taurus from an auto dealership.
“I may have been born there, but God knows I don’t belong there anymore,” Robertson said about his old neighborhood near Detroit’s New Center area.
The plastic-molding operator also said he didn’t tell people in his old neighborhood where he was moving.
He still works at the same factory in Rochester Hills, which pays him $10.55 an hour, but the hours-long walking trip now is done in a 20-minute drive.
“I’m going to keep working — that’s for sure,” he told the newspaper.
Financial experts are donating their services to help Robertson manage his money. The one-bedroom apartment in Troy costs him $800 a month in rent. He had been paying $880 per month for less space in his ex-girlfriend’s home in Detroit.
Most of his money now is in a trust that has a principal amount of $351,000. The earnings from the trust should be enough to keep Robertson’s nest egg untouched until he retires, said Rebecca Sorensen, a UBS Financial Services senior vice president for wealth management.
She is part of the financial team helping him.
People have stepped up because Robertson is unselfish and deserving, Sorensen said.
“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,” she added.