Footprints of a Hero


Footprints of a Hero is not a derivative from that famous quote “Footprints in the sands of time”, because these footprints aren’t figurative. Their imprint was left as James Robertson went tromping through the sidewalks of Detroit and outlying areas in snow or rain or whatever.

He’s done it for ten years, walking 21 miles to and from work, never missing a workday, in fact never having missed a workday for 12 years. A couple of those years he had a car before it broke down.

A bank exec picked him up one day, found out what was happening, gave him rides when their times coincided, and now has worked in an effort to finally see that James Robertson has a new car to drive to work.

Others have been raising money on behalf of 56 year old James to benefit him in other ways.

James started out his route to get to work on the bus as far as it took him, then he walked the rest of the way 8 miles to work for his shift beginning at 2 P. M. When his shift ended at 10 P. M. Detroit’s curtailed bus service forced him to walk 13 miles on his journey home.

How many people roll out of bed, eat breakfast, get ready, and complain about piling into a warm or cool car, depending on the season, while you drive to work? Would you walk a total of 21 miles to put in your eight hours?

How many in his case would be content to be on welfare, which considering the circumstances in today’s world, he would probably qualify for, and prop their feet up on a table, while they figure out how to make the money last until the end of the month?

What if you had no way to get to the bank, or had to take what groceries you were going to eat home in your hand? You couldn’t drive to the movie, or go the drive-thru for food?

His hourly wage limited his options, and the limits included no fixing his broken-down car, or buying another one to get to work. Can you imagine walking anywhere in the middle of the night to get home? Any of us would be hard pressed in 13 miles, regardless of where we live, not to walk through some portion of an area less than desirable in the middle of the day, but totally frightening when the demons past the witching hour come out to commit crimes, personal or otherwise.

Many of us have had cars for so many years, we assume you are supposed to have a car. Can’t you just see him driving up to work in his new car that first day? When he left home he didn’t immediately have to worry about the car breaking down, and if it did, what would he do. He probably parked it in the safest area he could find, possibly in sight where he could check on it if there was a window close to his work area. Maybe he wanted to make sure it was still there, and not a myth.

And driving home down the very streets he walked all those years. I wouldn’t be surprised to find on the first few days he pulled to the side of the street many times to remember a feared robbery or pouring rain or sub-freezing weather at particular spots.

And what about medical emergencies, his or relatives? There wouldn’t have been much he could do except call the EMTs, and hope for the best.

There have certainly been more renowned heroes. Heroes we have all known because they were famous first or became famous for what they did. There may have been parades to note their heroism.

James Robertson just drove his car to work, and drove it home.

If James didn’t know it before, he now knows there are some good people in this U. S. of A. He has met some of them. I must believe the rest of the good people would like to meet him.

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