Walter Carr was determined to make a good impression when he was hired at Bellhops moving service in Pelham. When his car broke down on his first day of work, he made the decision to walk more than 20 miles from his house in Homewood to his job. After just four hours of sleep, he set off at midnight in order to arrive on time.
Walter began to tire after half the distance and was stopped by a pair of compassionate police officers who took him to breakfast and then to his job. When Walter arrived at the client’s home to begin moving furniture, an officer told the homeowner the young man’s situation. It was then that the homeowner took action.
After hearing how Walter walked all night and would continue to do so in order to keep his job all while attending college, homeowner Jenny Lamey made it her mission to help him. She contacted Bellhops CEO, Luke Marklin, and set up a GoFundMe account to raise money, ABC News reports.
Touched by Walter’s perseverance and work ethic, Marklin drove to meet Walter for lunch. Walter, of course, walked 30 minutes to meet the CEO, unaware of what was waiting for him. When the faithful employee got to his destination, Marklin and Lamey greeted him with an unexpected gift.
Thanking Walter for his hard work, Marklin told him that he wanted to give him his Ford Escape free of charge. He’s never had an employee who was so grateful for his job that he’d walk over 20 miles to get there once, much less for the foreseeable future.
“Walter is incredible, and what he did is incredible,” Marklin told ABC News. “It’s everything our company stands for.”
Through tears, Lamey hugged Walter and presented him with the funds she had raised to help him get back on his feet. Much to his surprise, his story had garnered national attention, resulting in over $100,000 raised for his journey, according to The Homewood Star.
“It was unbelievable,” Carr said. “I felt like it was a dream, like I’d wake up sooner or later. It was an unbelievable experience. “I didn’t think all of that would come from me walking; I was just trying to get to a job.”
Walter hasn’t squandered his gifts. In fact, he has used what he’s been given to help others who might be in his situation. He donated $25,000 of the money from the GoFundMe to the Birmingham Education Foundation, which teaches teens how to fill out job applications, give interviews, and succeed in the workforce.
“I would like to give back to my community to help out,” Carr said. “… I wanted to make a difference from that end and show them that I’m still here. … I’m not going to forget where I came from.”
Additionally, Walter has earned an associate’s degree in science from Lawson State Community College. He also speaks at various events that help young people with job shadowing opportunities and career paths.
“The world’s going to be hard,” Carr said. “It’s like a piece of gum: it chews us and spits us out five seconds later, so you always have to be ready, stay on your toes. Never give up.”
Walter Carr accepted a position at UAB in patient transport. He also took a missionary trip to Fort Smith in order to share his faith. He continues to remain friends with Lamey and even acts as a mentor to her children.