Our first jobs are very important, and this is especially true for college students trying to pay tuition. Making a first impression could make or break you, and with the economy the way it is, no one can afford to lose their job.
But for Walter Carr, a student from Alabama, things were a little more difficult for him. The night before his first day on the job as a mover, Carr's car broke down. He had no way of getting to work besides the original mode of transportation: walking. According to Google Maps, it would take Carr seven hours to walk to the job, but that's what he did.
Missing the first day wasn't an option for Carr, so at midnight he began walking the 20 miles to get to the site of his first job. Four hours later, around 4 A.M., police saw Carr walking down the road. They asked what he was doing, he explained, and they immediately knew they had to help.
The officers offered to buy Carr some breakfast and personally drive him to the house where he had to work. Carr took them up on the offer, and at 6:30 in the morning, Jenny Lamey got a knock on her door.
"Around 6:30am the doorbell rang," Lamey wrote on Facebook. "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."
Lamey went on to share the entire experience on Facebook, and it's absolutely touching.
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. For those reading this that are not local, that's over 20 Miles.
You could tell how the officer told us this story that he had complete admiration for Walter and by my reaction he could tell I did too. The police officer said they picked him up earlier that morning, took him to get some breakfast and once they checked his story out, brought Walter to our house.
We introduced ourselves to Walter and told the officer he was just fine to stay here with us until the rest of the crew arrived. I asked Walter if he wanted to go upstairs and rest until everyone else arrived. He declined and said he could go ahead and get started. So he began working alongside Chris and I before the rest of the crew arrived.
We chatted while we were working together early yesterday morning. He loved my kitchen and said that it was exactly the kind of kitchen he would want. He was from New Orleans. He and his mother lost their home in Hurricane Katrina and they came and made their home in Birmingham. I asked him if he was tired from all that walking and he said replied that he wasn't and that he had a 4 hour nap before he left at midnight.
He said he made it Hoover around 2am and then to Pelham around 4am, that's about when the officer picked him up and took him to get breakfast. He wore black Nike joggers which he commented that he intentionally wore because he knew he had to walk thru some pretty high grass on his middle-of-the-night trek. He looked at me in the eye and smiled and I felt like I had known him much longer.
He was a Marine. I didn't get anymore of the story.
The rest of the crew arrived and then the craziness started. All of the young men that came to move us yesterday (9 in total) were some of the best young men I have met. Several of them were in college, engineering majors (you should have seen them putting together our beds!!), one of them starts PA school in the fall, some just working hard since high school, some of them had been with Bellhops a while and others had just started!
With the way they worked together as a team, you would have thought they had worked together for years. They remembered all of our names and Zach and Chase just had the best time cutting up with them and shooting hoops when the day was done. I just can't tell you how touched I was by Walter and his journey. He is humble and kind and cheerful and he had big dreams! He is hardworking and tough.
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 til morning when he could maybe get someone to come pick him up and bring him back home. But he walked until he got here!
I am in total awe of this young man! As the crew arrived one by one I saw them interacting in the street outside our house. Shaking each other's hands and all of them just as cheerful and ready for the day as Walter was. Walter and I emerged from the house and one of the crew, Shawn, saw us and said to Walter "You must be one of the recruits...let me shake your hand. Thanks for showing up!" He extended his hand to shake Walter's. He was in total appreciation to him for being there.
I guess it may be common for a "recruit" as he referred to him as, to not show up leaving the rest of the crew without the extra man they were counting on. I just looked at Shawn and said, "you wouldn't believe what he did to get here. Tell him Walter". Walter said "I walked".
That was it. Humble.
I asked him to share a little more and when he did, the crew was in awe of him too! I don't know that Walter would have shared if I hadn't asked him to. So yes, yesterday we moved. Yesterday was crazy. Yesterday was long and hard and hot.
Lamey's post went viral, and the CEO of Bellhops, Luke Marklin, heard about Carr's story. He came from Tennessee to Alabama to meet the hard worker in person. Carr thought that Marklin was just coming to say thank you, but that was far from the truth.
Instead, Marklin was there to present him with a car.
"It sounds like, you know, you walking a lot," Marklin said. "And you're gonna be walking a lot because you'll be doing a lot of Bellhops jobs, too. So we as a team got together last night, and we're trying to think about, 'Alright, how can we get Walter to jobs?' And so, I'd like to give you this car right here today. Like right now. You can drive away with it."
As it turns out, the car was actually Marklins, which he said he "barely drives." He figured it would be of much better use to Carr. The 2014 Ford Escape will definitely be in good hands.
As for Lamey, well she's just happy that Carr got what he deserved. She posted a picture of her and the dedicated worker in his new car, with the caption "No words. Just smiles! #newcar #bewalter #dotherightthing"
Lamey also started a GoFundMe page to help Carr with future expenses. The original goal was $2,000, but it has already exceeded $43,000. Lamey posted an update, saying "Evan Carter with ACG Wealth has graciously agreed to walk alongside Walter pro bono to help him plan, save and manage these funds."