Wednesday, February 4, 2015

James Robertson and the Internet

One of the great things about the Internet is that a story like James Robertson's - the guy who walked 21 miles each day as part of his commute to work and kept a perfect attendance record - can get to people around the world and give anyone who wants to help a way to do so.  The bad thing about the Internet is that judgy people also have a forum for their opinions. I am shocked by the people I have seen that are calling James "stupid" for not "finding a better paying job closer to his house."  Really?  When you are working and commuting for 20 hours each day there is no TIME to look for a job.  When you are making just over $10 an hour and barely getting by all you can do is do whatever you can to get by.

How about instead of criticizing James' supposed lack of ambition we choose to appreciate his work ethic and commitment to his employer?  How about we acknowledge the employer and coworkers who obviously make him feel valued?

My favorite part of the story - and the part that shows me how moving James' story really is - is the quote from the banker, Blake Pollock, who noticed James walking and started giving him occasional rides.  He said "I always say to my friends, I"m not a nice guy.  But I found myself helping James." 

Wouldn't we all like to meet someone who moves us to be a better person?  I know I would.  And I think Mr. Pollock is too hard on himself.  There were plenty of people who kept on driving when he stopped, who did nothing when he asked questions.  I think both of these men are role models.  And I'm so happy to see this story embraced and shared.  

I read a disturbing statistic over the weekend: children in low-income families (whose parents are working two or more jobs just to get by) enter pre-school or Kindergarten at a disadvantage because children from wealthier families hear 30 million more words throughout their early life and have bigger vocabularies.  It must be so daunting to be doing everything you can for your child only to hear that your children are still at a disadvantage.  

One of the worst feelings I know is feeling like you are stuck and can't change your situation.  It's nice to see that people are willing to help.

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