Student walks 20 miles to first day of work, so CEO rewards him with a car
When Walter Carr's car broke down the night before he was due to start his new job, he was faced with missing his first day. However, he refused to be beaten and swore that he would make it to work.
So he walked. For 20 miles.
After he asked a friend for a ride and it fell through, Walter decided to walk through the night from Homewood, Alabama, south to Pelham. He was desperate for the job at Bellhops moving company, despite the fact his phone told him it would take him seven hours to get there.
"I've never been that person that gives up," said Carr, 20. "I've just never seen myself doing that. I can only be defeated if I allow myself to be defeated."
Carr set off at around 11:40 pm on Friday. After walking through the night, he made it to Pelham by 4 am and he still a fair way to go before he reached the address of the woman that he was meant to be helping move.
Mark Knighten, a local police officer, was on patrol in his car when he saw the young man sitting on the ground, catching his breath. Because it was so late, Knighten decided to pull over and see if Walter was okay.
"Less than a minute from hearing his story, we were like, wow, this kid seems determined," Knighten said.
Knighten and his partners decided to take Carr for some breakfast and also bought him lunch to go. They then took him to a nearby church to rest up before his shift started at 8 am.
Carr continued on his walk and another officer picked him up and drove him to the Pelham home of Jenny Lamey.
Because of the lift, Carr arrived to the house early and Lamey invited him to rest in her house until the rest of the movers arrived. However, despite having walked all that distance, Carr refused and decided to get on with his work.
Taking to her Facebook, Lamey posted about Carr and how touched she was by his journey:
"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!"
The post went viral and Carr became an internet sensation overnight. When Bellhops CEO Luke Marklin learned of his story through Lamey's Facebook post, he was impressed by Carr's determination and character. "We are a company that is trying to change a broken, not customer-friendly industry," Marklin said.
"We're trying to transform that with a lot of heart and a lot of grit. And when I read that story on Sunday I was blown away, and I couldn't think of a better story of what this company is all about."
As a result of his dedication to his job, Carr was gifted a 2014 Ford Escape from Marklin.
"It seemed like the car was going to be put to a lot better use," Marklin said. "He's just awesome. He's our role model."
Inspired by the actions of the young man, Lamey set up a GoFundMe to help him out financially. She set the goal at $2,000 and it has already raised more than $11,000.
"I'm still in shock," Carr said. "I thank him [Marklin] ... I thank everyone for taking their time to listen to my story."
Well played, Walter.