Detroit’s Super Commuter James Robertson Finally Gets a Car

Feb 07, 2015 08:01 AM EST | Matt Mercuro

After years of commuting 21 miles to and from work every day on foot, Detroit native James Robertson finally got a new car.

Robertson, 56, received a shiny new 2015 Ford Taurus this week thanks to a Wayne State University student who raised $300,000-plus on his behalf.

Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights hooked up Robertson with the fully loaded Taurus, though Robertson opted to ride shot-gun off the dealership lot so that an employee could "demo the car for him, since he hasn't been driving lately," according to The Detroit Free Press.

"I don't like it, I love it," said Robertson, 56, who appeared baffled as he sat behind the wheel of his 2015 red Ford Taurus, according to Reuters. "If only my parents could see me now."

Dealership manager Jim Elder said that getting his own employees to work on time is often a problem, and they live in the same town as the dealership.  Then there's Robertson who earns $10.55 an hour at his job as a factory worker. He has never been late or absent from work over the last decade despite his long commute.

"There's nobody who deserves it more than him," Elder said to the Free Press.

The car has an MSRP of $35,215 and was equipped with 18-inch wheels.

Robertson had been driving a 1988 Honda Accord up until 2005, but the repairs were too costly, so he couldn't get it fixed.  The cost of car insurance in Detroit doesn't help either. A nationwide survey conducted by CarInsurance.com recently showed that car insurance in Detroit is the costliest in the nation, with an average of $5,000 a year.

Robertson was also featured on "World News Tonight" as ABC's "Person of the Week" on Friday. He was interviewed Thursday by ABC alongside 19-year-old Evan Leedy, who started a fundraising page on GoFundMe for Robertson after reading about his new friend in the Detroit Free Press.

The page raised $300,000-plus in four days from more than 11,400 donors.

Robertson has also received interview requests from NBC, CBS, People magazine and radio stations all over the country due to his inspiring story.

"Thank you for inspiring me and hopefully tons of other people to persevere in the face of adversity," said a contributor by the name of Kevin LeMelle on GoFundMe. "You are a true American hero." 

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