Walter Carr had moved to Homewood, Alabama with his mom after Hurricane Katrina. They wanted to start over after their home was destroyed by the hurricane. Walter was a 20-year-old student, but he was determined to work to help his mom. He didn’t know how tough it would turn out to be.
Walter learned about a job at Bellhops, a moving company around 20 miles away. Even though it was far, he drove there, filled out an application, and luckily got an interview right away. Excited, he shook hands with the hiring manager and agreed to start the very next day. Little did he know how challenging that was going to be.
Just a short distance away from his home, his old car suddenly stopped working. Walter’s heart raced as he opened the hood and looked inside. Of all times, his car chose that moment to break down. Smoke was coming out of the engine, and he knew it was beyond repair. He took out his phone to let the manager at Bellhops know that he wouldn’t be able to make it. But then he changed his mind.
Walter was young and in good shape, but 20 miles is a long way. Still, he was determined. He typed the address into Google Maps and began to cry in defeat. According to Google Maps, it would take him seven hours to walk there. And he didn’t have money to fix his car. What could he do? He needed this job. His mom couldn’t make the house payments, and they could end up homeless again in a month. Walter couldn’t let that happen. He had to try.
So, he set an alarm for midnight and tried to get some sleep. When midnight came, Walter woke up. He put on his most comfortable sneakers, threw on his jacket, and started walking in the middle of the night. Even though he had to walk for seven hours, he was determined to get to the client’s place on time.
Walking 20 miles was already a huge challenge, but life threw another obstacle his way. Walter started walking at a good pace, but when he reached the halfway point, his legs were trembling, sweat was dripping from his face, and his feet were burning. He had walked over 10 miles, and the exhaustion was taking its toll. The fear of losing his job on the very first day gave him the strength to keep moving, putting one foot in front of the other.
Then he noticed a flash of blue. He had been so focused on walking that he didn’t realize a car had been following him for the last 10 minutes. It was 4:20 in the morning, and he still had many miles to go. Suddenly, the car flashed its lights and let out a short siren sound. Walter knew they were stopping for him. He turned his head to see the police car pulling up beside him.
“Where are you headed in such a hurry, buddy?” the police officer asked, his tone pointed. The officer had probably had a long and rough night on patrol, and the last thing he wanted was more trouble. Walter, trying to catch his breath, answered while still walking. He knew time was ticking. The officer seemed to have seen enough and told Walter to get into the car. He wasn’t interested in finding out why this young man was out on the street at such a late hour. As far as he was concerned, Walter was up to no good.
But when Walter managed to explain the reason for his late-night walk, the officer’s eyes widened in disbelief. Officer Sean Gray had seen a lot during his career, but this young man’s determination struck a chord within him. They drove in silence for the next six miles until Walter saw the house in the distance. Relief washed over him. He had made it before his time had run out.
He thanked Officer Gray and got out of the car, his legs shaky from the long walk. But there were more surprises waiting for Walter on that eventful day. The police officer walked him to the door and explained to the homeowner, Jenny Hayden Lamy, how Walter had walked 14 miles on foot to help with her move. She was astonished by his dedication.
When the rest of the Bellhops team arrived, Walter tirelessly began loading boxes into the moving van. He was exhausted, but he kept going. Then Jenny posted about the whole experience on Facebook, and the post gained massive attention overnight. People were touched by Walter’s determination and resolve.
Jenny’s Facebook post read, “Yesterday was a long day but a good day…” She recounted how she and Chris had prepared everything early in the morning for the movers, and then a police officer showed up at 6:30 am. The officer explained that he had picked up a young man named Walter in Pelham earlier that morning. Walter had said he was supposed to help them with their move that day. It was his first day on the job with Bellhops, and he was training that day. The officer went on to explain that Walter’s car had broken down the previous evening, and he didn’t know how to get to work. So, he left Homewood at midnight and started walking on Highway 280 to Pelham. He walked all night because he needed to get to work.
Jenny was so moved by Walter’s determination to make it to his job that she decided to start a GoFundMe campaign to help him fix his car. The initial goal was set at $2,000, but after reading Jenny’s heartfelt post, people donated a staggering $32,000. But the story doesn’t end there. Walter’s actions caught the attention of Luke Marklin, the CEO of Bellhops. Marklin drove from Tennessee to Homewood and personally handed Walter the keys to his own Ford Escape.
Overwhelmed with emotion, Walter couldn’t believe it. The CEO of the company he had just started working for had given him his own family car. The generosity of the community and the support he received was incredible. As the story spread, Walter became an inspiration to thousands, and Jenny’s Facebook post garnered over 2,000 shares and comments.
One commenter wrote, “I’m truly moved by his journey as well. It’s impressive how we often find excuses not to do something, but then there are people like Walter who reject excuses and just take action.” Another said, “Life is full of challenges, and Walter passed the test. He’s a gracious and humble man. I can’t imagine how many times during that lonely walk down Highway 280 in the middle of the night he might have wanted to turn back. How many times did he wonder if this was the best idea? How many times did he wish for a place to sit or lie down
and wait until morning when he might have found someone to give him a ride back home? But he kept walking until he arrived.”
Walter’s dedication to his job became a symbol of the hardworking spirit of Americans, and his determination led to a hashtag movement on social media, #BeLikeWalter. Despite all the attention and praise, Walter remains down-to-earth. He aspires to become a Marine one day and has shown the world that he can achieve anything he sets his mind to.
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