Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Here's to You, Mr. Robertson

Monday was a less than stellar weather day here in the State of Concrete Gardens.  While it did not prevent me from making my thirty-mile-plus commute from my home in Middlesex County to my office in Morris County and arriving - as is my custom and practice - in the wee small hours of the morning, many an office of my fellow attorneys and many a desk of the Firm's staff sat unoccupied for most of - if not all of - the day.  Even those among our number who live five to ten miles from the office decided -  in some cases as early as 8:00 A.M. - that irrespective of what weather was on tap for the remainder of the day, the effort to actually get to work was more than they could muster. 

Against that backdrop, I offer the story of James Robertson.  Mr. Robertson, who is fifty-six, lives in Detroit, Michigan.  He works full-time at a factory in Rochester Hills, Michigan, which is approximately twenty-three miles from his home, for a company named Schain Mold & Engineering.  It is a job he has held for a number of years, working a 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM shift, and which presently pays him $10.55 an hour.  

It is a job to and from which he has commuted principally on foot for the past decade.  On foot.  He does not earn enough to afford to buy, maintain and insure a car so when the last car he owned - a 1988 Honda Accord - died approximately ten years ago, he replaced horse power with sole power.  On average, he walks twenty-one miles of the twenty-three mile commute.  He does so five days a week.  Fifty-two weeks a year.  Irrespective of the weather.  According to his boss, Mr. Robertson has not missed a single day from work in all of the time he has worked for Schain Mold & Engineering.  Not one. 

His story is remarkable.  And - as it should have - it caught the attention of people all around the country, including Evan Leedy.  Young Mr. Leedy is all of nineteen years.  He is a junior at Wayne State University in Michigan.  Upon reading about Mr. Robertson in last Sunday's Detroit Free-Press he did quite a remarkable thing.  He shared Mr. Robertson's story on-line via a GoFundMe fund-raising page in an effort to raise enough money to buy Mr. Robertson a car and raised $130,000 - in less than twenty-four hours.

On Monday, the man who has walked the equivalent of a round-trip between Detroit and Los Angeles annually to get to his $10.55 an hour job - and who has shown up and worked every day - gave every indication that the incredibly strong legs that power his daily journey take their marching orders from an equally powerful mind.  Speaking to the media, Mr. Robertson observed, "I have to be careful how I act about this.  The same God who brings you all these blessings can take them away."   

Remarkable.  Simply remarkable. 

-AK 

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