There is a level of openness and warmth here…from everyone involved….that has blown me away.
Walter Carr’s family home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. So they moved from New Orleans to Birmingham and then Homewood, Alabama.
The twenty year old is a student at Lawson State College and started the process of joining the Marines.
The young man was excited to start training at Bellhops Moving Company, twenty miles away in Pelham. But in the late afternoon the day before he was to start, his thirty year old car broke down. There is no public transit in that rural area, and the family didn’t have enough to pay an Uber driver, so rather then call-in on the first day of work, he decided to get some sleep from 8:00 to midnight…
….and walk the twenty miles to get to work.
“I wanted to be there before 8. I wanted to beat the crew members there to let the company know how dedicated I am.”
With the aid of Google Maps, he calculated that he could get there in less than eight hours. A high school distance runner, he didn’t consider it a huge hindrance. He also played baseball in H.S., so he brought a baseball for protection against dogs.
14 miles in his journey, at 3:30am, police stopped him. Yes, they were caucasian.
Says Walter, “He was like, ‘Where are you going?’ and I was like, ‘It’s hard to believe, it’s going to sound real crazy, but I’m actually headed to work.’“
They were impressed with this young man. And, from their perspective, were worried about his safety. They took him to an all-night eatery for breakfast, and their impression of him grew. They then took him to First Methodist Church, and asked him to rest, and they would send another officer to pick him up.
After a half-hour, he once again continued his journey. About four miles in, another officer stopped him.
“Are you Walter Carr? Get in the car, I got you.”
They drove him to his job, at the family that he was going to help move…that of Jenny and Chris Lamey.
They sat him down and they talked of their lives…and she too, was deeply touched and impressed by Walter.
They were moved.
They offered him the guest room to get some sleep before the rest of the crew arrived…but he refused and wanted to get started immediately.
So after the move, she took to Facebook, (and please read her words of admiration and praise that her family and the police felt), and that ended with,
‘… yesterday was crazy. Yesterday was long and hard and hot.
She knew that whenever her family traversed rough patches, they would think of Walter.
“He’s like the poster boy for no excuses,” said Jenny. “He’s just got this deep faith. He wasn’t alone.”
Her post took-off and made it to the CEO of Bellhops Moving, Luke Marklin.
He contacted Jenny via Facebook.
‘This is an incredible story. I’m really proud to be on the same team as Walter… we set a high bar on service and he just raised it. Look forward to thanking him in person this week.’
He immediately left his home in Tennessee, pretending to only meet Walter for a luncheon.
And then this, with the Pelham Police Department and the Lamey family attending.
This next video is very, very special.<>Fox (boo hiss) aside.
Jenny started a a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for Walter. With a $2000 goal, it has reached $88,000. <> After it reached a little over $60,000, Walter said that any money after that would go to the Birmingham Ed Foundation, ‘a nonprofit dedicated to increasing the number of students in Birmingham City Schools that are on the path to college, career, and life readiness.’ Whilst in high school he was part of the program. “It gives the students a voice,” he said.<> He has also been offered at last count 14 job offers from around the country, with moving benefits, and 7 school scholarships.<> But he feels a gratitude to the company and the town, and plans on staying-put for awhile.<> “I’m not going to change for nothing.”<> Attorney Mike Kerrigan really hit one home with this….<>
The young man wants to be a United States Marine. How fitting, for already he seems to run to the sound of guns. I don’t know about you, but I sleep better knowing a man of this toughness and character might soon be keeping watch over my family and me. Carr’s grit is obvious enough, but legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said the true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching. Surely a young man who sets out alone to walk 20 miles through the night, just to be at work on time is, quite literally, choosing the hard path when nobody is watching.
But here’s the beautiful part. I bet this young man has no idea just how many lives he’s touched. Sure, Carr saw the moving company’s CEO give him a car – that is to say, his boss’s very own vehicle – in a gesture that was pure class. He saw how he warmed the heart of the family that he moved. But I bet Carr has no idea how many other Americans were affected by his story.
Here I am, a middle aged guy who probably would have checked into a Hampton Inn before mile one, marveling at this young man’s fine example. Carr has taught me something rather useful in our angry age.
What i want people to know is this- no matter what the challenge is, you can break through the challenge. Nothing is impossible unless you make this impossible.You can do anything you set your mind to.
I’ve got God by my side.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.