There’s been a twist in the story of James Robertson, the man who became internationally famous for his 21-mile trek – largely on foot – to and from his factory job each day through the cold Detroit city streets.
Thanks to the outpouring of support he’s received, he’s not safe at home anymore.
With the help of a viral GoFundMe page started by a friend, 19-year-old Evan Leedy, Robertson, 56, has received a new car and $350,000 in donations.
The publicity and financial windfall has put a lot of attention on Robertson, prompting him to move his residence over safety concerns, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Detroit police helped Robertson move Tuesday, after crime-prevention specialists offered him temporary quarters according to Detroit police Capt. Aric Tosqui.
“We had a meeting with him (and) he expressed interest that he did not feel safe,” said Tosqui.
And who could blame him, with the Detroit murder of an elderly lottery winner last December?
“He knew about that story, and I also know about an incident … where a gentleman was killed after he allegedly won some money,” Tosqui said.
Robertson has yet to receive any of the donated money, but hopes to avoid the trouble that can come with it. Fellow residents of the boardinghouse where he lived are already demanding a cut of the donations and have threatened him with violence, according to the Free Press.
“Don’t get me wrong. It’ll be hard to leave the city that I love,” Robertson said about the abrupt move.
Robertson and Leedy are scheduled to sit down with financial professionals and figure out how best to use the windfall.
Robertson is looking for a new permanent residence and now drives his 2015 Ford Taurus to work. But the accolades keep coming, with an invitation from Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to attend Tuesday night’s State of the City speech.
Robertson turned it down.
“It would interfere with my work,” he said. “That’s just me.”
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