Last week, Walter Carr was just a 20-year-old Alabama college student. When his car broke down, he was left with no way to get to his first day of work at Bellhops Moving. He wasn’t looking for fanfare when he set off to travel the 20 miles to work on foot, but his story moved his boss to give him his car.
The night before his first day at Bellhops Moving, Walter Carr’s 2003 Nissan Altima broke down. Panicked, the student texted his friends and girlfriend begging them to drive him to work at 8 A.M.
When Carr couldn’t get a ride, he decided to walk. At midnight, he woke up from a four-hour nap and began his trek from Homewood, Alabama, to Pelham, Alabama; a 20-mile expedition.
Carr made a mental map of his route, even wearing black pants in preparation for the tall grass he knew he would be walking through. He went into the night with nothing but his phone, wallet, a kitchen knife and a baseball to ward away aggressive stray dogs.
He alternated between jogging and walking, ignoring the burning in his legs until 4 A.M. when he decided to give himself a break in the bank parking lot. This was when he was noticed by a police vehicle. At that point, he had not eaten a meal for eight hours.
Who is Walter Carr?
This is not the first time Carr has been forced to make his own fate in the face of adversity. After losing their home in Hurricane Katrina, Carr and his mother started a new life for themselves in Birmingham, where he has continued to fight for what he wants.
“I’ve always been that person who figured things out on my own,” Carr told the Washington Post. With such staunch dedication and natural survival skills, it is no wonder that he dreams of becoming a Marine.
When concerned police officer Mark Knighten stopped Carr to ask if he was okay, he had already traveled 14 miles. Once he explained what he was doing, the officer took him out to breakfast with a few other officers. After he only ordered one chicken biscuit at Whataburger, they had to convince him to order more.
Knighten’s shift was ending, so he brought Carr to a church four miles from work and arranged for another officer to pick him up a few hours later and drive him to the house. Concerned that he would not make it on time, Carr set out walking again at 5:30 A.M.
Officer Scott Duffey, who had heard about Carr’s odyssey, spotted him on the road and drove him the rest of the way to work. At 6:30 A.M., they arrived at their final destination: the home of Jenny Lamey. Lamey was moved to tears by Carr’s story and offered him a meal and a place to sleep. Instead of accepting, he got straight to work. When the other movers arrived, Lamey had to push Carr to tell them all he had done to get there. A new co-worker gave him a ride home at the end of the day.
Public Response And Gift
A day later, Lamey posted the story on Facebook and made a GoFundMe page with a $2,000 goal to help with Carr’s car troubles. The story went viral. As of the afternoon of July 18, 2018, over $50,000 has been raised.
Sunday, July 15, Bellhops CEO Luke Marklin saw the Facebook post and was so moved that he called Carr to thank him and arrange for them to meet in person. On Monday, Marklin drove from Tennessee to a small coffee shop near Carr’s apartment.
But Marklin was treating Carr to more than just coffee and a pat on the back. After publically thanking and expressing his admiration for the young man, the chief executive handed over his own 2014 Ford escape, which he had barely driven. Jenny Lamey and the police officers that helped Carr along the way also showed up to support him.
Carr was stunned, grateful and humble when Marklin announced that he would be driving away in a new car. Some companies talk the talk, but Marklin walked the walk (at his own expense, no less).
“I want people to know this – no matter what the challenge is, you can break through the challenge. Nothing is impossible unless you make it impossible,” Carr told AL while holding back tears.
Watch the big moment below: