He wasn’t about to stop anytime soon. He had to make it no matter what, so he kept going at his own pace. He still had 10 more miles to go, and he knew he couldn’t waste any time. But when the cop car pulled right next to him, he couldn’t help but feel like he may be in trouble somehow. He kept powering on, but there was no hinder the cop’s intent. What did the policeman want?
Walter Carr had been through a great deal of tragedies despite his young age. After surviving Hurricane Katrina, he moved to Homewood, Alabama, with his mother. He was looking forward to rebuilding his life. He was determined to get the fresh start he deserved, and he was willing to go to any lengths to do so. The 20-year-old student was dead set on supporting his mother after the tragedy, but he could’ve never predicted how tough that would be.
While his heart may have been in the right place, Walter wasn’t counting on how tough it is for a young man to find a job that pays a decent wage. Many folks are having a really difficult time landing a job in this economy. But that wasn’t the only problem he was facing.
Finding a job can be a pretty grueling experience as you have to be ready to face a lot of rejection at first. But you keep knocking on every door until you finally land a position that suits your skills and experience. But what happens when you’re too young to have any experience whatsoever? Then you’re in competition with countless other folks who are also desperately looking for a job too.
But Walter didn’t know his life was about to make a turn, only this time, it would leave him in tears. Someone was about to throw him a lifeboat, so to speak, right when he needed it the most.
Walter heard through the grapevine that there was an open position at BellHops, a moving company that was located approximately 20 miles from where he was living. He knew it would be a long commute to work but he was counting on his reliable old car to take him there. Walter wasted no time and immediately headed over there to fill out an application. The young man got a stroke of luck and landed an interview right then and there. Once he was done, the hiring manager shook his hand. They were so impressed with him, that the young man got hired on the spot. He was set to start the following day. But there was a problem.
As luck would have it, Walter’s old car made a quick halt a few feet away from his driveway. Walter couldn’t help but let anxiety override him, as he was starting work the very next day. With his heart racing a million miles her hour, he desperately popped the hood open to take a peek inside. Why did Walter’s car choose that day to give up on him and die? When Walter noticed there was smoke coming out of the engine, he realized he was doomed. He picked up the phone to inform his new boss that he wouldn’t be able to start working for them, after all. But something made him change his mind.
Walter could’ve easily refused to work since there was no way he’d be able to drive to work now. But if he quit before even starting, he’d be on his own again. The last thing he wanted was to waste more time looking for another job, especially when he was looking forward to working at BellHops. He wasn’t about to let anything get in his way now that he’d been hired. He needed this job, and he was willing to do anything to get there.
The 20-year-old young man was fit and young, but 20 miles was a ridiculous distance to walk every day. Still, Walter was determined to get to work no matter what it took. If this proved to be impossible, he wanted to find out on his own. Walter typed out the address on Google Maps. According to the app’s calculations, it would take him a whopping 7 hours to get there by foot.
What was he supposed to do now? He barely had any money left to fix his car, let alone, lease a new one. He couldn’t afford to miss out on this opportunity. But Walter knew he’d barely had any time to make it back and forth. If Google Maps was right, he’d have to spend 14 hours a day walking back and forth!
Walter couldn’t help but shed a few tears in desperation. He’d already been through so much heartbreak in his short life. And yet there he was willing to do anything to work on rebuilding his life. He had to make house payments for his mother somehow, or they’d be on their own again. Only this time, they could be homeless within a month. And that wasn’t an option. Walter decided he’d try to make it somehow. He set up his alarm for 12 am, and tried to fall asleep. He’d need to be well rested for the next day’s 7-hour walk.
At 12 am, his alarm went off. It was time to wake up and face the day. Walter put on the most comfortable shoes he could find as he had quite a treacherous walk ahead of him. He threw on a cozy jacket, and ventured off in the night. He was determined to get to work on time, no matter what. But life was about to mess with Walter one more time, as if he wasn’t already dealing with enough stress!
Walter started off his walk swiftly. He wanted to waste no time, so he knew the faster he walked, the sooner he’d make it there. But after he reached the halfway mark, he was already exhausted. His feet burned and his entire body was shaking. Sweat was pouring down his face, but Walter was focused. He wasn’t about to lose his job on the very same day he was scheduled to start and that motivated him to keep going. That’s when he suddenly noticed something flashing nearby.
Walter was focused on trying to stay motivated and just kept walking. He’d been too exhausted to realize someone had been following him over the last 10 minutes. At 4:20 am, he noticed he was still a long way from work. So he couldn’t afford to waste any time. Heck! He could barely sit down and rest for a bit. But that’s when all of a sudden the car flashed its lights and blasted a warning siren that left him paralyzed. He realized they must’ve been looking for him.
He turned around, too frightened to even make eye contact with the cop. “Where are you rushing off to, buddy?” asked the exhausted policeman who was on patrol duty that night. Walter tried to stay calm and take a deep breath before giving the man an answer. But he couldn’t waste more time as the clock was ticking. He needed to keep going fast, but he couldn’t simply just take off.
The police officer didn’t waste any more time. He told Walter to hop in the car. He had a really long day and he’d already dealt with a great deal of stress. The last thing he wanted was to figure out what a young man like Walter could be doing in the dark. But when he heard the reason why this man was walking alone at night, he couldn’t help but get emotional.
Officer Sean Grey had seen it all, crooks, perpetrators, and shady characters. But he had never met anyone as responsible and goal-oriented as Walter. They stayed quiet for the next 6 miles. Walter couldn’t help but breathe a sight of relief when he saw the house in the distance. He’d made it on time in his first day of work, and he couldn’t thank Officer Grey enough. He shakily stepped out of the car and was ready to start working. But that fateful day would end up changing the course of Walter’s life.
The police officer couldn’t help but gush over the determined young boy who was willing to break his back in order to get to work on time. He decided to escort Walter to the door of the homeowner, Jenny Hayden Lamey, and tell her about what Walter had gone through in order to get there. He’d managed to tirelessly walk 14 miles on foot to help her move out. She was speechless, to say the least. But when the rest of the crew arrived, Walter didn’t let exhaustion get the best of him. He was completely worn out, and yet he kept loading boxes inside the moving van. Jenny felt like she needed to tell the whole world what she had just witnessed, and her post got a lot of attention.
The woman’s emotional Facebook post quickly spread like wildfire. It read: “Yesterday was a long day, but a good day. Chris and I woke up around 5:45am to get everything staged and ready for the movers. Around 6:30am the doorbell rang. It was a police officer. He proceeded to tell us that he had picked up ‘this nice kid’ in Pelham early this morning. ‘The nice kid,’ Walter, said that he was supposed to help us with our move today…”
“It was his first day on the job with this moving company (Bellhops) and he was ‘training’ today. The officer proceeded to tell us that the previous evening Walter’s car broke down and he didn’t know how he was going to get to work. So he left Homewood at MIDNIGHT and started WALKING to Pelham on 280. He WALKED ALL NIGHT to get from Homewood to Pelham. Because he needed to get to work.”
Jenny was completely taken aback by this hardworking young man’s story. She felt like she needed to lend him a hand somehow, and figured a Gofundme page would allow her to raise enough money for Walter to fix his car. She was initially planning on raising $2,000,. But much to her surprise, people from all over the world were so moved by her post, that everyone started to pitch in, and share her story. Soon enough, she was able to raise $32,000! But Walter’s determination didn’t go unnoticed by BellHops’ CEO, Luke Marklin.
Marklin quickly drove his Ford Escape all the way from Tennesse to Homewood, where he was planning on surprising Walter. The CEO was so touched by what this young man was willing to do to get to work on time, that he decided to just give him his own car. Walter couldn’t help but tear up, so he started crying and shaking his head in disbelief. He’d been showered by so many strangers’ kindness, and it was quite emotional for everyone who witnessed it. The entire community came together to cheer Walter and congratulate him.
Walter’s determination has inspired many folks who couldn’t help but shower the kid with praise and positive thoughts. Jenny’s post quickly went viral, getting over 2,000 shares and countless supportive comments. One person wrote, “I’m definitely really touched by his journey as well. It’s impressive how we can give excuses to not do something, but there are people like Walter who don’t like excuses and just do.” Another commenter chimed in and said, “Life is made of challenges. Walter passed the test! Gracious and humble man.”
“I can’t imagine how many times on that lonely walk down 280 in the middle of the night did he want to turn back. How many times did he wonder if this was the best idea? How many times did he want to find a place to sit or lie down and wait till morning when he could maybe get someone to come pick him up and bring him back home? But he walked until he got here!” Jenny continued gushing over the young man who was hell-bent on getting to work on time.
Walter was set on getting to work on time and honor his commitment. Walter’s the true embodiment of a hard-working American who would go to any lengths to make a life for themselves. His determination even inspired a moving hashtag on social media called, #BeLikeWalter. But Walter doesn’t really think he did anything special. He just feels he did what anyone would do if they truly needed a job as badly as he did. A humbled Walter said, “I just walked.” But his story proves that a dream doesn’t come true through magic. It takes a lot of sweat! And since Walter aspires to be a Marine one day, his strong determination to never let failure overtake him will come in handy in his future career.