All Walter Carr knew was that he had to get to work on time in the morning.
The 20-year-old college student in Homewood, Alabama, had tried to start his 2003 Nissan Altima, only to find that it was dead in his driveway. Faced with missing his first day as a mover for Bellhops, Walter strapped on his sneakers, ate a quick meal, and set off at midnight to walk to the job site… which was 20 miles away.
Walter walked all night long, arriving in Pelham around 4 a.m. As he plodded along the side of the highway, he was startled by the flashing blue lights of a police cruiser. Pelham officer Mark Knighten pulled over to check on Walter, asking him if everything was okay. When he heard why the young man was walking in the middle of the night, he knew he had to help the kid out in some way.
Officer Knighten and fellow officers Klint Rhodes and Carl Perkinson took Walter out to breakfast, even insisting he get some lunch for later, too. “He was very polite. It was ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir,”’ Knighten said.
Later that morning, the police officers went a step further, driving Walter to the job site and even knocking on their door to introduce him and tell the residents what lengths Walter had gone to in order to get to work on time.
Jenny and Chris Lamey had hired Bellhops movers and were up bright and early to prepare for their arrival. When the doorbell rang at 6:30 a.m., they were startled to find a police officer on their doorstep. As Jenny explained on Facebook:
He proceeded to tell us that he had picked up ‘this nice kid’ in Pelham early this morning. ‘The nice kid’, Walter, said that he was supposed to help us with our move today. It was his first day on the job with this moving company (Bellhops) and he was ‘training’ today.
The officer proceeded to tell us that the previous evening Walter’s car broke down and he didn’t know how he was going to get to work. So he left Homewood at MIDNIGHT and started WALKING to Pelham on 280.
Jenny and Chris were blown away by Walter’s dedication and perseverance. They even offered to let Walter relax until the rest of his crew arrived, but he refused, choosing to get started with the packing instead.
He WALKED ALL NIGHT to get from Homewood to Pelham. Because he needed to get to work. For those reading this that are not local, that’s over 20 Miles. You could tell how the officer told us this story that he had complete admiration for Walter and by my reaction he could tell I did too.
As the day wore on, the Lameys were even more astounded by how hard Walter was working, and how well he got along with the other movers. Jenny says that when she looked into Walter’s eyes, she felt like she’d known him for a long time already. He’s got that “old soul” quality.
What’s more, Jenny later learned that Walter and his mother had lost their home in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. He’s currently earning his Associate’s degree in health science from Lawson State, then he plans to join the U.S. Marine Corps. After that, he hopes to get a degree in physical therapy.
After an exhausting day of moving, Jenny took to Facebook to write about the experience. Before long, her words of praise went viral, and everybody was talking about the young college student who walked through the night just to get to work.
I just can’t tell you how touched I was by Walter and his journey. He is humble and kind and cheerful and he had big dreams! He is hardworking and tough. I can’t imagine how many times on that lonely walk down 280 in the middle of the night did he want to turn back. How many times did he wonder if this was the best idea. How many times did he want to find a place to sit or lie down and wait til morning when he could maybe get someone to come pick him up and bring him back home. But he walked until he got here! I am in total awe of this young man!
One person who heard the story was Luke Marklin, the CEO of Bellhops movers. Luke was so impressed that he drove to Birmingham from Tennessee to meet Walter and personally thank him over a cup of coffee.
What Walter didn’t realize was that Luke had even more in mind than coffee. “I am honestly blown away by him,” Luke said of Walter. “Everything he did that day is exactly who we are — heart and grit. So far, he’s batting 1,000.”
Luke rewarded his dedicated employee with the surprise of a lifetime: the keys to his 2014 Ford Escape.
“This was the first job in a long time to give me an opportunity to get hired,” Walter later said. “I wanted to show them I got the dedication. I said I’m going to get to this job one way or another.”
Now that Walter’s story has gotten international attention, he hopes his actions serve as inspiration to other young workers out there.
“I want people to know this — no matter what the challenge is, you can break through [it]. Nothing is impossible unless you make it impossible,” he said. “You can do anything you set your mind to.”
In addition to his new car, Jenny started a GoFundMe to help Walter with his expenses. Walter could not be more grateful to the kind people who noticed his fighting spirit and decided to reward him for it.
We wish more people would #BeLikeWalter!
Watch the moment when the young man receives the gift of a lifetime below, and don’t forget to share to make someone smile today.