Alabama college student walks almost 20 miles overnight to first day of work; CEO gives him his car

CEO gives him his car

What started as every employee's worst nightmare had a pretty happy ending for Walter Carr, 20, a college student from Alabama.

The night before Carr's first day on the job, his 2003 Nissan Altima broke down.

He called his friends and his girlfriend to try to get a ride, but nothing worked out. He checked his GPS and saw that without a car it would take him about 7 hours to get from his house in Homewood, Alabama, to the town of Pelham for his first day at Bellhops moving company.

He decided to walk.

Carr started his 20-mile trek sometime around midnight.

"I wanted to be there before 8," he said. "I wanted to beat the crew members there to let the company know how dedicated I am."

He made it about 14 miles to Pelham when police officers stopped him on the side of the road around 4 a.m.

"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.'" Carr said.

When they heard his story, the officers decided to take him to breakfast at Whataburger and made sure he got something for lunch, too.

Carr said the officers debated for a little while where they could safely drop him off and eventually landed on First Methodist Church. The officers said they would send someone to check on him.

Carr rested for a while before he started walking again. He had less than 4 miles to go when another officer pulled up to check on him.

"He said, 'Are you Walter Carr?' and he was like, 'Get in the car, I got you,'" Carr said.

The officer dropped him off at the home of Jenny Hayden Lamey, who Carr was scheduled to help move that day. Carr said once the officer told Lamey and her husband Chris his story, they insisted he rest for a while.

"They were overwhelmed," he said. "We argued about five minutes about me resting."

After the moving job was done, Lamey, impressed by Carr's determination, shared his story on Facebook.

She said while waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive, they started to chat, and Lamey learned that Carr is a Marine. She said he and his mother moved to Birmingham after losing their home in New Orleans during Katrina.


"I just can’t tell you how touched I was by Walter and his journey," she wrote. "He is humble and kind and cheerful and he had big dreams!"

Lamey's post went viral and caught the attention of Luke Marklin, the Bellhops CEO, on Sunday morning. Marklin said he started getting texts about Carr's story and got his team together to figure how they could thank him.

"Just sitting there reading it, I was just blown away," Marklin said. "The more we learned, the more we realized Walter was just a special person."

Marklin met Carr on Monday to thank him and decided to gift him his personal Ford Escape. Carr was surprised, to say the least.

"I think he was pretty happy," Marklin said, laughing. "His resolve to get through challenges is just something that legends are made of, really."

Like Lamey, Marklin said he was impressed by Carr's determination.

"It was wonderful to get to know him. Walter is a person who has had adversity throughout his life," he said. "I don't think Walter ... was ever going to let not having a car get him down."

After hearing that Walter Carr walked nearly 20 miles to work overnight, Bellhops CEO Luke Marklin gifted him his personal Ford

Lamey has since started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for Carr. It has raised nearly $8,500 in just one day, far exceeding the $2,000 goal.

Carr said he's incredibly grateful for all the feedback he's gotten since the story went viral.

"I couldn't believe it. I didn’t think that 20-mile walk would mean anything to anybody." he said. "I’m really thankful for it, the car, for everything."

He's also pretty sore.

"That was the craziest long walk," Carr said. "My body was like, 'What was you thinking?' I had to get the job done."

Source: usatoday

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