What started as one of the cruelest encounters the old man had ever had, ended up turning his and his wife’s life around. And the car salesman who was arrogant enough to mistreat him was left regretting his actions forever. Keep reading to learn about Robert’s astonishing story, which will serve as a reminder that one should never judge a book by its cover.
A Judgmental Welcome
Robert Jack was a nice, down-to-earth man who needed to buy a new car for himself, and so he did what anybody would do – he visited the nearest car sales lot. As he entered the lot, he couldn’t figure out if it was his humility and simplicity, or his worn-out outfit that sparked the salesman's attitude.
But, sure enough, as Robert approached the parked cars and locked eyes with the salesman, the man gave him a sly smile that looked terribly fake. The salesman was thinking that it was his lucky day since he could see that Robert was a senior, and so he thought it would be the easiest thing in the world to rip him off. Not only was he completely wrong, but the salesman would live to regret his actions forever.
Looking for Help
All Robert wanted that day was to purchase a vehicle for personal use, and since he had just walked into the establishment, the first thing he did was approach a salesman. He walked around the car dealership lot and tried to get someone’s attention, but then the salesmen saw his old clothing and immediately made a judgment call.
Thinking he was a senior with no money, the salespeople on the lot started to smile and chuckle and told him the lot wasn’t the place for him since he probably couldn’t afford a single car parked in the showroom. They had no idea who they were talking to.
Robert Jack grew up in the 1960s and had a fairly happy childhood until he graduated from high school. Once a graduate, right at the height of the infamous Cold War, Robert’s father urged him to join the military as soon as he turned 18 so he could fight for his country.
Sure enough, as soon as he celebrated his 18th birthday, Robert enlisted in the U.S. military to make his father proud. But like every other young man who was shipped off to fight, Robert had no idea what the long-term effects of the brutality of war would do to him.
Robert was always known by his family and friends to be kind, sociable, and charismatic. He was always the friendliest guy of the bunch, and people loved him for it. However, after a decade of fighting in Vietnam, there was nothing left of Robert but a shadow of the man he used to be.
Being in combat mode for so many years had severe consequences for Robert’s mental and physical health. After the war was over, Robert had become an entirely different person, with a very introverted character and antisocial tendencies. Luckily, there was at least one person who met the new him and was able to get past the wall of trauma and see Robert’s good heart.
He Met Kate
One day, a friend of Robert’s was having a barbecue at his house, and one of the guests was a nurse named Kate. Since Kate had been in the medical field for decades, it was easy for her to recognize trauma just by looking at someone. The moment Kate laid eyes on Robert; she knew he was hiding a deep pain.
Ironically, when Robert realized Kate was looking at him, he was already waiting for the usual judgmental words to come out of her mouth. To Robert’s complete surprise, Kate’s reaction was totally the opposite – she was instantly drawn by his character and there was obvious chemistry between the two. It only took a few weeks for a relationship to blossom and the two to become a loving couple.
The Best Version of Himself
Kate and Robert were so happy that months of dating quickly turned into years, and Robert felt it had been the best thing that ever happened to him. Apart from giving him unconditional love and support, Kate also helped Robert in a professional capacity, helping him work through his traumas.
All of his issues had slowly gotten better except for one – every time a stranger got close to him, he went into panic mode and suffered from crippling social anxiety. This is exactly what came over Robert the day he walked into that car dealership to purchase a new vehicle.
Tying the Knot
Five years passed and Robert decided the time had come to propose to Kate, which he had realized long ago was the love of his life. The couple tied the knot at a beautiful wedding ceremony with just their close friends and family and felt blessed they had found each other. By the time Robert turned 60, he felt that his life had gone by in a flash, but having Kate made it all worth it.
They had a strong and happy marriage, but the fact that none of them had children started to weigh on them. Robert started thinking about the purpose of life, and he was in a particularly pensive mode on the day he walked into the car dealership.
The day that Robert walked into the car dealership, there was pouring rain outside, so immediately every car salesman thought he was only looking for some shelter from the storm. However, Robert actually needed to buy a car.
As he entered the dealership, everybody looked at him as if he was crazy, and they wouldn’t stop staring. Logically, this made Robert’s already present social anxiety even more severe, and he suddenly felt like it was hard to breathe. This time, all eyes actually were on him, and he started to feel more uncomfortable with every passing minute. What was happening?
A Common Occurrence
The people at the car dealership were used to seeing people wander into the shop with no real purpose of buying. And this is exactly the quick judgment they made the second they saw Robert. They were sure he was never going to make a purchase or was even looking for a car, but just wanted a safe place to wait until the rain passed.
Every single car salesperson was sure that Robert was just another poorly dressed window shopper, so there was no reason why they should pay much attention to him. They had no idea how wrong they’d turn out to be.
As the doorbell of the car dealership rang from Robert opening the door, everyone immediately turned around to gauge the potential buyer. They started intensely analyzing Robert, focusing on his clothing, his shoes, his demeanor, his hair, and his expression. Robert could hear the internal laughs of people making fun of him and he couldn’t possibly fathom why.
Every salesperson went back to what they were doing, with nobody approaching him or giving him a welcome. If anything, some salesmen thought it would be an opportunity to sell the senior man an overpriced vehicle, but they weren’t going to work for it either. Robert was disgusted by everyone’s attitude.
As Robert understood the hostile and rude environment he had just walked into, he approached the receptionist at the front desk. He kindly asked her if she could keep an eye on the bag that he was carrying since it was too heavy to carry around the dealership while he looked at cars in detail.
He further explained to the receptionist that he needed to take his time in analyzing each car available, and the weight of his bag would tire him too quickly. After all, he couldn’t make a smart purchase if he was tired and in a rush.
Robert had always been a simple man, and he saw no need to dress up for everyday activities, let alone to visit a car dealership. He figured he didn’t have to impress anybody, so he dressed as he normally would.
The clothes he was used to wearing for work or for his regular errands seemed more than fitting to go buy a car. In the end, a dealership should only be interested in his money, not his appearance. Robert never imagined that he would be judged or mocked like that, by anyone, and especially not by salespeople who were supposed to be planning how to best sell him an expensive car.
Becoming a Target
As Robert walked through the dealership, he carefully looked at each car, appreciating their differences. When he was younger, he had been a huge lover of vehicles and knew a lot about them, but today, he was only looking to buy a car for one particular reason.
As one of the salesmen looked at him from afar, he realized this “poor” elderly man might be the perfect target for a very overpriced vehicle. “How much could that old, shabby man know about vehicles?”, thought the evil salesman. All the man could think of was the fact that Robert was easy prey for him to scam, and so he started getting all sorts of thoughts in his mind about how he could best con him.
The greedy car salesman couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that maybe Robert was even a bit senile and easy to rip off. The salesman finally approached Robert with a sly grin on his face and told him the car he had been looking at was the best they had. Of course, this was also the most expensive vehicle they had in the showroom, explained the salesman, because clearly, quality didn’t come cheap.
At this point, Robert still hadn’t said a word and was looking carefully at the salesman and his pitch. For a moment, Robert thought that maybe one person in the entire dealership was actually trying to be helpful.
Taking It for a Test Drive
Robert finally interrupted the salesman and said very politely that he would like to take the car for a test drive if it was alright with the salesman. The salesman, who had been nothing but overtly nice to him until now, suddenly snapped when he heard Robert.
There was no way he was letting this old bum take a car for a test drive, so he quickly came up with a bad excuse, saying that the car actually wasn't for sale. But Robert was literally looking at a price sign on the car’s windshield, so what was going on? The salesman told him he would be better off at a car rental company, but Robert refused.
The second that the salesman suggested a rental service to Robert, the rest of the staff that was hearing the conversation from nearby exploded into terrible laughter. Robert had never felt so mocked and ashamed in his entire life, and he wondered how people could be so disgusting.
Had he missed something that was causing these people to be so cruel to him? As Robert looked around the showroom, he realized every single person was laughing at him. All except for one salesman who was standing in a faraway corner of the room. Perhaps he was the only decent human being in that dealership.
The only salesman who wasn’t laughing was a man called Richard, who had just recently started working at the dealership. He was actually disgusted by the salesmen he worked with and thought they were cruel predators just looking to make a quick buck.
Richard was furious at the way his co-workers laughed at Robert, so he tried to speak up and yelled at them to let Robert see the car and take it for a test drive. But the other salesmen just kept laughing and told him he didn’t know what he was doing since he was new to the game.
An Insulting Statement
Robert couldn’t believe what was happening, but one thing he knew for sure – he wasn’t leaving until he at least saw the interior of the car he wanted. But then things got worse, and the disgusting salesman got impatient and shouted that the car was $200,000 and that he didn't see how Robert would be able to afford it.
The salesman continued that he didn't want Robert to waste his time when a real customer could walk through the door. The salesman proceeded to laugh with his fellow co-workers and kept looking at Robert, basically telling him to leave once and for all and stop wasting their precious afternoon.
As appalled as Robert was to be treated in this manner, it was also nothing new to him. Unfortunately, he’d been misjudged and mistreated in the past for his simple, introverted demeanor. So, Robert kept calm and answered, “How do you know I can’t afford it?”, and asked the salesman very politely, for a second time, if he could take it for a test drive.
The salesman, getting frustrated and angry, pointed toward a sign above the receptionist’s desk that read “Right of Admission Reserved.” But Robert wasn’t going anywhere, he hadn’t done anything wrong and had been as polite as possible.
Telling Robert to Leave
The sleazy salesman was getting angrier by the second, and so he finally yelled that he'd been in the business for a long time and that he could spot a timewaster from a mile away. The salesman continued with his offensive remarks, saying that he could tell from the way Robert was dressed that he could never afford that car, and he asked Robert to leave.
In all of his years, Robert had never been treated so badly, as if he were some disgusting animal from the street. Despite the insulting remarks from this man, Robert stood his ground and didn’t budge.
Just when Robert thought things couldn’t get any worse, the salesman called security so they could escort this “strange, time-wasting man” to the door and get rid of him. As the security officer approached a deeply disappointed Robert, he just kept a cold, unemotional look on his face.
The salesman, happy that he finally got rid of the annoying man, boasted with his coworkers and commented on the downsides of being a car salesman and having to deal with people like Robert. Little did he know that this was not the end of this story. He would see Robert again, much sooner than he ever thought.
A Terrible Realization
Robert had been used to being mislabeled and wrongly judged by people his whole life, but he had never had to deal with the cruelty and disrespect that he endured just minutes before. Being escorted by security when he had done nothing wrong was insulting and unjust, and it nearly made him cry with anger.
With his head down, he began to walk away from the dealership. Unfortunately, he hadn’t yet realized that he had left his bag behind under the care of the receptionist. At the exact moment that he started to walk further away from the dealership, the receptionist realized the bag had been forgotten by the bum old man.
Making Matters Worse
As Robert made his way back to the dealership to get his bag, he was stopped at the door by the security officer. The receptionist, who was clearly disgusted by the bag, didn’t even bother to grab it and take it to Robert, she simply pushed it towards the door with her foot.
The salesmen exploded in laughter when they saw this, but Richard was visibly angry at the whole scene. He couldn’t believe he worked with people like these, who would disrespect and insult a senior like him in this manner. Richard was sickened by the whole situation to the point of disgust.
As Robert was standing by the door, a woman and her daughter walked into the dealership, and the woman visibly kept her distance from Robert as she went by him in the doorway.
Robert, who had always been nice and kind to strangers, especially since he needed to push through his social anxiety and engage with people, gave a smiling “Hello, ma’am” to the woman.
Immediately, the woman leaned down towards her daughter and said in her ear that this is why the daughter has to stay in school. Otherwise, she said, she'd end up poor and dirty like Robert. The entire dealership burst out in laughter, and Robert couldn’t believe his ears.
Enough Is Enough
Robert couldn’t take it anymore, he had tried to stay calm and fight rudeness with kindness, but things had just gotten infinitely worse. He was exhausted from being treated like this, and so he decided this was the last time he would ever keep quiet about injustice again.
In a loud, stern voice, Robert said “Excuse me,” as he stared into every single salesman’s eyes, and lastly into the rude woman’s. He had been beyond patient and tolerant, and given these people ample chance to redeem themselves. If they were just going to keep being disgusting human beings, he wouldn’t cooperate any longer.
Confronting the Woman
Firstly, after realizing he had the woman’s attention, he looked at her and said, "I couldn't help hearing what you said to your daughter. I don't think that was very nice to say about another human being without even knowing anything about them.”
Robert was done with being laughed at.
He would no longer ignore mean comments or disrespectful looks from complete strangers. He had done nothing wrong and there was absolutely no excuse for these people treating him the way they did. Enough was enough, and Robert reached his limit; he figured that if kindness didn’t teach these people, it was time to stand up to them.
The End of Silence
Throughout his life, Robert had ignored so many mean comments and rudeness from people that he had become desensitized. He knew there was no point in arguing with a rude stranger, and it wasn’t worth his time and energy. But this time it was different, things had gone too far, and he had to do something.
Robert decided that he would no longer stay silent and let things go. He would make people listen to him and realize how harmful their actions and words had been. Unfortunately, his words didn’t have much effect on these people, and the fact that he was an elder didn’t guarantee him any much-deserved respect. These people were hopeless.
A Lesson They Would Never Forget
Nobody at the car dealership that day had any idea of the life lesson they would receive; not a single person that was there would ever forget this day, or Robert. As he addressed everyone in the room, Robert started to say that a man’s economic status shouldn’t dictate the way he is treated.
He continued by saying that being poor doesn't mean that a person deserves to be ridiculed. All of a sudden, Robert was no longer the introverted, anxious, and shy man that he had been for so many years. He became strong and proud, and let his every thought be known.
Not What They Thought
As Robert started to speak up, he said that he works in construction and that he might look shabby, but he's a very well-educated man. He went on to tell them how he had a college degree and several medical certificates under his belt.
Robert didn’t stop there, he decided to tell these people everything so they would learn to never judge anyone else again. Apart from explaining what a qualified and educated man he was, he also shared something that would end up leaving everyone speechless and feeling immense guilt for the way they’d behaved. They had no idea what they were about to hear.
A Health Problem
It was time to share a secret and let out a hard truth, and so Robert continued. He said that even though he was old, he hadn't been able to retire because he had to pay his wife's medical bills. He went on to explain how she had fallen ill, and she counted on him for support.
She relied on him and so he needed to make sure he was always available for her. Robert explained that this was the reason he had walked into the car dealership to begin with. “Shame on all of you for judging me so harshly!”, he finally yelled out.
The more he spoke, the angrier he got, and so finally, Robert said that assuming that he's uneducated and poor just because of his appearance is pure ignorance. But, even if he was poor, unemployed, or homeless, they didn't have the right to judge him. Robert was furious, and he was far from done with these people.
He suddenly grabbed the bag from the floor that had been kicked at him moments before. Robert opened it and quickly showed everyone what was in it. The room fell silent, and everyone’s face went pale, including the disgusting salesman who had ordered for him to be thrown out.
As soon as Robert showed them what was in the bag, he turned around and started to walk out of the dealership. The sleazy salesman that had approached him in the first place to try and rip him off, bolted towards the door and started chasing after him.
Everyone did the same and they hovered over Robert while apologizing profusely and telling him how bad they all felt. But Robert had reached his limit a while ago, and now he had made up his mind about what kind of people they all were. So, he just smiled calmly and proceeded to walk off. But someone wasn’t ready to let him go yet.
Richard Went After Him
Richard, the only salesman who hadn’t laughed and actually tried to speak on Robert’s behalf, left the car dealership and followed Robert down the street. He was ashamed of his co-workers’ behavior, and he started to apologize repeatedly from the bottom of his heart.
Robert recognized Richard’s face, and he knew that he was the only one who had behaved like a decent person. Robert smiled at him and opened the bag so Richard could get a good look at what he had just shown the other people at the dealership. As soon as Richard looked inside the bag, he was dumbfounded and unable to speak.
The Unassuming Canvas Bag
Because of his clothing and quiet demeanor, Robert had been mistaken for a homeless person with not a dollar to his name. However, there were packs of 100-dollar bills inside his little canvas bag. Richard’s curiosity was at its peak, and all he could do was look at Robert with intrigue.
Robert coughed and closed his bag, and then decided to share his story with Richard. He introduced himself to Richard by his full name and started to tell him the amazing story of his life. Richard couldn’t believe what was coming out of Robert’s mouth; he was amazed at the old man.
Times of Hardship
Robert started to explain how he had worked very hard his entire life; first during the war and then when he was discharged. Even now, when he should have been able to retire, he had to continue working and took up a job in construction.
He further told Richard that he had gone to the dealership straight from work at a construction site, and that was the reason he looked so dirty. Robert explained that, despite the fact that he had made plenty of money throughout his life and was ready to retire, his wife got sick, and he had to continue working.
Bordering on Bankruptcy
Robert finally shared his most painful secret – his beloved wife Kate had been diagnosed with cancer and had been fighting the illness for years. Even though at times it seemed that Kate was losing the battle against the illness, Robert had vowed to himself to stay strong and positive and never lose hope.
She needed him to be her rock, and he was happy to do that. However, one thing he never imagined he would have to deal with on top of everything was people’s judgment and cruelty. As if all that weren’t enough, at one point he also had to deal with bordering on bankruptcy to cover the medical costs.
A Costly Treatment
Both Robert and Kate had worked hard all their lives and weren’t poor under any circumstances, but Kate’s cancer treatments had been extremely costly. After the first round of chemotherapy didn’t work, Kate had to do several others throughout the years, and this took a huge financial toll on them.
Robert had managed to pay for everything and keep them living comfortably, but he started to realize that he was going to have to return to work if he wanted to keep a certain lifestyle for Kate. He had decided to visit the car dealership to surprise Kate, but from the moment he stepped into the showroom he was treated with nothing but disrespect.
Robert knew that one of Kate’s lifelong dreams had been to drive a specific car, and so, seeing as the cancer treatments were losing effectiveness, he was determined to give his wife what she wanted. He had to do this fast before her physical condition worsened and she couldn’t drive.
At last, he had saved up enough money to buy the car.
He went to that unwelcoming dealership, where despite being treated so terribly, his biggest sadness came when he saw that the price of the car had significantly increased. When Richard had caught him as he walked from the dealership, Robert was thinking of things he could sell to come up with the money. He had to get Kate that car, and it could be no other car.
Robert’s determination was unwavering, and he knew that no matter how hard it was or how much it cost him, he was going to do this for Kate. So, in those few moments when he left the dealership, he decided to sell everything he owned, including his beloved wedding ring.
Things were getting worse, and he was running out of time, as he and Kate had gone to the doctor a few weeks prior and had been told that she only had one year to live. They were devastated, and the sadness was so great that Robert fought his desire to break down and tried to keep a positive attitude for Kate.
He Wanted to Help
As Richard kept listening to Robert’s heart-wrenching story, he asked him how much money he needed to be able to buy the car. Robert told him he was just $5,000 short. Richard started thinking and brainstorming ideas for ways to help, but he knew that the dealership would never give him a discount or lower the vehicle’s price.
Richard walked Robert back to his home and went back to work, but for the rest of the day, he couldn’t stop thinking about him and Kate. He had to do something; he had to help Robert make Kate’s dream come true.
A Knock on the Door
As Richard left work, after a grueling afternoon of thinking about how to help Robert, he made a decision. He started to walk towards Robert’s house. He knocked on the old man’s door when he arrived, and he was excited for Robert to open the door and hear what he had to say.
Richard had made up his mind and was confident that this was the best solution for Robert’s problem, and the most effective way he could think of to help the couple. He just hoped that Robert would accept his offer and not be too proud.
An Amazing Offer
As Robert opened the door, he was confused to see Richard standing there. What could he possibly want at this time in the evening? Then he saw there was something in Richard’s hand.
The salesman was holding an envelope with cash, and as he gave it to Robert, he told him to please take the money and buy his wife the car of her dreams.
He told Robert not to worry since he had made a plan – if he was the one to sell Robert the car, he would simply take the $5,000 out of his commission and that would be the end of it. Richard said goodnight and started to walk away before he could see the tears running down Robert’s face.
The very next day, Robert put on his best suit, grabbed his canvas bag from the day before, and made his way to the car dealership. This time, the salesmen were speechless, they all greeted him kindly and barely said another word.
The sleazy salesman from the day before had noticed Robert walk in and immediately thought he had gotten a second chance at making an incredibly high commission.
He quickly approached Robert and gave him that fake smile he had so disgustingly given him the day before. But the salesman had no idea what Robert had in store for him.
He Asked for Richard
The eager salesman was practically begging Robert to buy the car, thinking he was going to make a huge profit off the old man after all. But Robert gave him a sly smirk and started to walk off, to which the salesman reacted quite badly.
He yelled that if he wasn't going to buy a car, he should leave the dealership. Robert calmly turned around and said that he does want to buy a car, he just wanted to work with Richard. The salesman was dumbfounded and furious. He didn’t know what to make of the whole situation, and his attitude just got worse.
A Changed Man
This time around, Robert entered the dealership a new man – he was wearing his suit, had newfound confidence and moxie, and wasn’t taking any rudeness from anybody. People in the showroom were astonished by this new man and his complete change from one day to the next.
Much unlike the day before, Robert knew what he was walking into, and he knew exactly what to do to get his revenge against the people who had treated him so despicably just 24 hours ago. The new Robert wasn’t about to brush off comments or insults, and he wasn’t going to accept even the tiniest disrespect.
Opening His Bag
Robert decided it was time to pull out the big guns, so he opened his canvas bag while everyone in the dealership was looking and started to get out his packs of 100-dollar bills. The sleazy salesman couldn’t believe what he was seeing, and his anger just got worse when he saw Richard approaching Robert.
After greeting Richard with a hug, Robert immediately purchased the car; he walked with Richard to his office and signed all the necessary paperwork. Robert was happy to have bought the vehicle from Richard, and as he left the dealership with his brand-new car, he waved goodbye to all the salespeople with a huge smile on his face.
Envy and Shame
As Robert got in his new car and drove away, every single salesman at the dealership was fuming with anger and envy. They couldn’t believe they had missed out on such a big commission and that a guy that they’d thought poor could actually afford a car like that.
Apart from crazy envy, some of the salesmen felt great remorse and shame for the way they had treated Robert in the first place. It was too late, and they had to live knowing they had shamed and disrespected a man who was hard-working and kind and was only trying to make his sick wife happy.
A Surprise for Kate
Robert arrived home and parked the beautiful, brand-new car. He went into his home, took Kate by the hand, and walked her out to the street in front of their home. He pointed at the car and gave his wife the biggest smile ever. Kate couldn’t believe her eyes; she was overwhelmed with happiness. Robert had made a lifelong dream of hers come true.
The car was a new model of the one that her father used to drive when she was little. After her father passed away when Kate was only 10 years old, the memory of them driving together in his car was a memory dear to her heart. So, this car had a much bigger meaning than anyone could imagine.
Making Things Right
Meanwhile, back at the dealership, the salespeople felt horrible, and they couldn’t shake the embarrassment and guilt they felt for their awful behavior. They decided they needed to do something to make things better and apologize to Robert with a grand gesture.
They started coming up with an idea to make sure this kind old man finally got everything he’d earned in life. He’d fought for his country, worked hard all his life, fallen in love, and was now facing a devastating future. They wanted to give him something that would make him and his wife happy, whatever it cost.
The Master Plan
Everyone at the dealership was convinced they had to do something, so they finally came up with a plan. Now, they just had to tell Richard about it so he could join in. As soon as they entered Richard’s office and told him they had thought of something with regard to Robert, he immediately asked them to leave him alone.
He pleaded with them to just let the old man enjoy his new car and live a happy life with his wife. But after the salespeople explained the plan to him, Richard was convinced. He would help them carry it out.
Looking Up His Address
Since Richard had become friendly with Robert, the other salespeople thought it would be best if Richard was the one to deliver the surprise. Richard happily agreed and pulled up the paperwork to write down Robert’s address.
He was ready to visit the old man and share the big plan with him and his wife. Richard felt lucky and honored to be the one who got to deliver the news. He couldn’t imagine how Robert would react, or how shocked he would be to realize what the car dealership that had first been so cruel to him had come up with.
Someone’s at the Door
Robert had spent the day driving with Kate in their beautiful new car, and it had been one of the happiest days of Kate’s life. Her memories of a time when she and her father would drive the open road came pouring back, and she couldn’t help but cry with joy.
Those hours they’d spent driving had made Kate forget the battle she was waging against her illness, and she felt pure happiness and relief. When they got home, Kate went upstairs to take a nap and Robert walked towards the kitchen to start preparations for dinner. Suddenly, he heard a knock on the door.
Why Was Richard at the Door?
As Robert dropped what he was doing and approached the door, he realized it was 7 in the evening, and they weren’t expecting anybody. He opened the door and saw Richard standing there with a calm look on his face.
Robert was surprised and confused that Richard had stopped by.
Had he regretted his decision and come back to ask for the $5,000 he lent him the day before? Robert really hoped this wasn’t the case, because he didn’t have a dollar left to give Richard at that moment. Anxiety slowly started to take over him, and right when he was about to ask Richard why he came, Richard started speaking.
An Unbelievable Surprise
Richard greeted Robert and apologized for bothering him and his wife, but he had some important news. “The guys at the dealership approached me and pressured me to come here; they want to make up for what you did at the dealership,” said Richard.
Robert couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Suddenly his heartbeat increased, and he started to suspect that the next words Richard would say would be awful.
But right then and there, Richard took out his phone and showed him a GoFundMe webpage account. The dealership had decided to create a campaign to raise money for Kate’s medical bills, and every single person at the dealership had already donated $500. Robert felt tears of joy streaming down his face.
The first day at a new job is always hard, even with the best boss and colleagues. You still don’t know your way around, and the first few hours, if not days, are mostly a learning period. Now imagine that on top of the regular awkwardness and nerves of starting something new, something unexpected happens at the last minute – you spill coffee on your only clean suit, or your car suddenly stops working.
Most people freak out and call into work with a million apologies. But Walter Carr didn’t. Keep reading to learn about Carr’s amazing first day at work and how it changed his whole life. Life has surprises for us all, and we might know how a day begins but we never know how it will end.
Ever since he was a young boy, Walter Carr had a strong familial support system, but life wasn’t without difficulties. His family’s economic situation wasn’t easy, and his parents often worked double shifts at several different jobs to make ends meet. However, there was never a moment when they weren’t united and had a positive attitude toward life.
Food was always on the table, and the importance of education and hard work was always the priority. His parents’ hard work kept Walter in a good school since he was a little kid, but when he reached high school, he knew the time had come to help around the house.
Hard Work From a Young Age
Realizing that his parents were constantly struggling to make it to the end of the month, Walter decided to start looking for a job as soon as he entered high school. He knew it had to be something that allowed him to work the afternoon shifts and on weekends since he couldn’t miss school.
This meant that he would go to school in the mornings, rush back home at noon, and then barely have time to shower and eat something before dashing out to work again. It also meant most of his homework was done late at night after work. But Walter kept going through high school and managed to keep his grades up and make some money to help his family.
On the flip side, working so hard meant there was barely any time left for extracurricular activities like sports and hanging out with friends. While other teens were partying and enjoying their weekends, Walter often worked long days. But his hope that it would someday pay off kept him going.
He firmly believed that as long as he kept his grades up, he could start applying for a scholarship to any university in the country and hope for the best. If his grades were good enough, he at least had a chance. Getting a scholarship could turn his life around and, therefore, his family’s.
No Free Ride
When high school was nearly over, Walter started preparing dozens of applications to several colleges to increase his scholarship chances. He had a solid plan to go to a good university, excel in his degree, and be able to finally get a decent-paying job that could better his life and allow him to help his family properly.
He sent out the applications and waited patiently for the replies to come. After a few weeks of anxiously checking the mailbox, he started getting reply letters from every single college. Walter collected all the letters and stared at them in his bed with fear.
Giving Up Was Not an Option
As Walter started opening the letters, he realized he had gotten into many universities, which was amazing news. The issue was that not one had offered a scholarship, not even a partial one. This killed Water’s hope because he had every opportunity the world had to offer within his grasp but no possibility of seizing them.
Furthermore, he had worked so hard all through high school precisely to get his grades to a level that could be deemed worthy of a full scholarship. He didn’t know what to do next; he had to come up with a new plan because giving up was not an option.
Walter decided he wouldn’t let this bring him down, so he put the university letters aside and decided he would explore his job options. If he could manage to get a decent job for at least a year and save some money, he could maybe afford a good community college and take it from there.
He started scouring the newspapers, local restaurants, and coffee shops for any job postings. Finally, he ended up securing a job as a cook in a fast-food restaurant, but he was aware this could only hold up for so long, as the pay wasn’t nearly enough for what he needed.
A New Opportunity
Walter and his mother had relocated to Homewood, Alabama, some years back in search of a better life and more opportunities. After searching for a job in the area, as he desperately needed to make ends meet for himself and his mother, a friend told him there was an opening at a moving company that had a very good reputation.
He knew it would be physically demanding to work for a moving company, but he also knew the pay had the potential to be quite decent. Carr immediately called the company, which was Bellhops Moving, and they told him he could come into the offices during working hours and fill out an application. The next morning, that’s exactly what Carr did.
Carr drove the distance from his home in Homewood to the Bellhops Moving Company headquarters in Pelham, Alabama, which was about 20 miles away. He entered the offices and asked for a job application, which the secretary gave him immediately. Right after finishing the application, Carr realized the company CEO was in the offices.
As the application was handed to him, he decided to call Carr in for an interview right there and then. The two men got along almost immediately, and after asking Carr some questions about his life and past professional experiences, the CEO decided to hire him. They shook hands, and Carr agreed to start the very next day at 7 a.m.
The Hope of a New Job
As Walter happily walked back to his car after the successful job interview, he couldn’t help but feel that things were finally working out. He no longer had to take temporary, low-paying jobs that barely covered his apartment's rent, let alone the monthly costs of utilities, food, and gas. Walter had previously worked as a cook in fast-food restaurants, but the pay wasn’t enough.
He arrived home after the 20-mile drive and shared the good news with his mother. They had a nice, celebratory lunch, and he went about his afternoon, thinking about what he needed to prepare for his first day at a brand-new job.
The Night Before
On the night before his first day at Bellhops Moving Company, Walter got his clothes ready, made sure he had packed lunch, and had all the paperwork and tools he needed. Walter realized he had left some things in his car, so he went into the garage. He realized he needed the lights on in the car to look for what he needed, and so he tried turning it on.
To his surprise, the car had broken down, and no matter how many times he tried, he couldn’t get it to start. He checked to see if it was the battery or something else that could be fixed relatively quickly but nothing worked. Carr looked at his watch and realized it was 8 p.m.
What Would He Do?
Carr didn’t know what to do. He started entertaining all the possibilities. How could he get to his job? Was it possible to walk? And if so, what streets would he take, and how long would the journey be? Would he make it to work on time? Carr took out his phone and entered his location and the Pelham address where his job was in his Google Maps.
The app said it would take over eight hours to walk there. Instead of despairing, Carr thought about how he used to be a cross-country runner in high school, and at 20 years old, he was still young and healthy. Carr knew he could do that walk in less than eight hours.
No Other Option
In one last try to avoid the long all-night trek, Carr started to send his friends an avalanche of text messages to see if he could borrow anyone’s car. Some friends didn’t reply; others couldn’t lend their cars since they needed them early in the morning to go to work themselves.
He soon realized he was out of options, and so Carr made a swift decision – he would definitely walk to work. It was his very first day at the Bellhops Moving Company, and he couldn’t risk losing it; it had already taken him a while to find a good-paying job, and he needed to keep it at all costs.
Carr psyched himself up and started to get ready for the journey. He realized it was 8 p.m. and decided to have a quick dinner; he made himself some eggs with bologna and went to bed. He set the alarm for midnight, as he had already calculated that he needed to start walking at 12 a.m. at the latest if he was going to make it on time.
He figured four hours of sleep would have to be enough rest for his all-night walk and the next 9-hour workday that lie ahead. He would catch up on his sleep when he got home from work.
Packing the Essentials
The alarm went off at midnight, and Carr started to get his things ready. As he was going to be walking for the next few hours, Carr had to pack light. He couldn’t make it in time if he was carrying too much weight, so he decided to leave everything and only pack the essentials.
Carr put his wallet and his phone in one pocket and a baseball and a kitchen knife in the other since he knew he would probably encounter stray dogs and perhaps would need to defend himself. The 20-year-old locked his apartment and went out into the night.
A Tough Journey
Carr had been walking for a few hours and suddenly came across a stray dog. He stayed calm and reminded himself that he was prepared for this – and so he tried his first line of defense: the baseball. He threw the ball far into the night and luckily, the dog ran quickly after it. Carr sighed with relief and went the other way.
He remembered the route by heart, as he had seen and studied it before leaving his apartment. He decided to pick up the pace and started jogging for a while. He went back to brisk walking and felt his legs burning with exhaustion, but he was focused, he had a goal.
Giving Up Was Not an Option
Carr had always been a man who figured things out for himself; he looked for solutions where other people saw none. He reminded himself about the route and the miles he had left to go; he thought about how fast he needed to walk if he was going to make it in time.
Most people would have called the night before and let their new boss know they weren’t going to make it. But Carr wasn’t like most people, and he knew that if he lost this job, he would need to go back to lower-paying jobs like cooking at fast-food joints. He needed the money to pay his rent.
Carr saw his watch, and the time was 2 AM when he realized he’d just passed the city of Hoover. He continued on his journey and entered Pelham city at around 4 in the morning, but he still had several hours left to reach his destination.
Carr saw the highway ramp that would be a shortcut to his destination, and as he started to walk on it, he realized he had to sit down for a minute. He passed the parking lot of a bank and sat down. Carr later said to ABC News that his legs were killing him and he had to rest for a minute.
A Car Approaches
After a few minutes, a patrol car from the Pelham Police Department passed by, and an officer stepped out. The man identified himself as Officer Mark Knighten and approached Carr where he was sitting. The officer asked Carr if he was OK, and the young man said yes, and proceeded to tell the officer his story.
Carr told Knighten how he was actually on his way to work and how he’d had to walk 20 miles because his car had broken down. He wasn’t crazy; he just couldn’t afford to be late on his first day at a new job because he really needed the money.
A Surprising Turn of Events
After talking to Carr for a few minutes, Knighten realized this was a special young man, with a sense of discipline and responsibility that made him choose to walk 20 miles instead of missing his first day at a new job. The Officer asked Carr when he last ate, and Carr told him about his egg and bologna dinner several hours ago.
Knighten said he wanted to take him for a full breakfast, so he at least didn’t start his new job on an empty stomach. Carr explained that he had just paid rent and didn’t have any money for breakfast. “It’s on me,” said Knighten.
A Kind Gesture
Knighten told the young man to get in his car and drove to Whataburger, one of the few places that were open at that time of night. As they sat down with two other officers who happened to be there, Carl Perkinson and Klint Rhodes, Knighten told them about Carr’s story, and they were equally impressed.
Carr ordered a chicken biscuit meal, and the officers asked him to please order one more, insisting that one wasn’t enough food for a full day’s work. Knighten said he had to leave because his shift was about to end but he would drop Carr off at a church, which was a safe place, and he asked him to wait there for another officer to pick him up and drive him to his work.
Waiting at the Church
Carr sat on the church steps and waited, and after nearly half an hour had passed, he started to get concerned. What if the officer didn’t come on time and after all that he didn’t manage to make it on time to his job? He looked at his watch and realized it was 5:30 in the morning.
Carr decided to start walking again – there was no chance he wasn’t going to make it the last few miles and get fired before he even started. No matter what happened, he was going to make it to his destination on time.
Carr Is Surprised Again
As he started to walk again, Carr heard the sound of a car approaching behind him. He quickly realized it was another police car, so he slowed his pace and turned around. As the car got close to him, an officer rolled down the window and introduced himself as Scott Duffey. He told Carr he’d heard his story from Officer Knighten.
Duffey told Carr he’d be happy to drive him the last four miles to his job site. The young man got in the car, and Duffey drove off toward the direction Carr gave him. At 6:30 in the morning, Duffey and Carr arrived at their destination.
Getting to Work
The owner of the home he was meant to help move was Jenny Lamey, who was startled to see a police car arrive at her home so early in the morning. Duffey got out of the patrol car with Carr and proceeded to tell her the story of the young man.
He spared no details, telling her the ordeal and journey he’d embarked upon all so he wouldn’t be late for the job. Duffey asked Lamey if it was alright for Carr to wait at her home until his boss and the rest of the moving crew arrived. Lamey couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
In utter disbelief, Lamey could no longer hold the tears back and started crying. She thought of the 20-year-old young man and the ordeal he had been through, the sense of perseverance and responsibility that was so rare for a person that age. Lamey further thought about how after his hours of walking and lack of sleep, Carr would now have to start a 9-hour workday of heavy lifting in terrible heat.
Lamey said that she was blown away and that she burst into tears a couple of times. She offered Carr a bed to take a nap on and some food before work started. Carr thanked her but said he’d rather get straight to work.
The Moving Company Arrived
Shortly after, the two other movers from the Bellhops Moving Company arrived at Lamey’s house. Before they started packing her house, Lamey sat them down and told them about Carr and the night he’d endured to get to work on time. The other movers were speechless.
Alongside Carr, they immediately started packing the house and moved the Lamey family to their new home on the other side of the city. Carr and his new work colleagues got along as if they’d known each other for years. To top it off, after a long day’s work, Carr played some basketball with Jenny Lamey’s kids.
The all-night trek wasn’t the only thing that left Lamey and her kids in shock. As they started talking to Carr, he told them a bit more about himself. He was studying for his associate degree, which he would complete later that year. Soon after, he would go to boot camp to become a U.S. Marine.
The Lamey family was in awe of Walter – not only was this man starting an arduous new job, but he was also studying and getting ready to become a Marine. On top of it all, he was willing to walk 20 miles in the middle of the night to make it to work on time. He showed a will and perseverance that were astonishing.
An Unimaginable Ordeal
Carr’s attitude toward life and his infinite perseverance weren’t a coincidence. As the afternoon went on and Carr got to know the Lamey family, he started to tell them a bit about his life. He finally opened up and told them that, when he was a 5-year-old boy, he and his mother lost everything to Hurricane Katrina.
They were living in New Orleans when the tragedy happened, and they had lost their belongings and their home. But even in the face of such terrible hardship, Carr’s mother kept going and found a way to provide for her family. She taught Carr that life is worth fighting for, even when things get seemingly impossible.
The Beginning of a Long Friendship
Lamey and her sons really got to know Carr that day, and they came to appreciate each other as if they were old friends. Lamey was impressed by the young man’s sheer willpower. She couldn’t imagine what kept him going through all the hardship, but in a later interview with ABC News she said she thinks that God helped him through it all.
Lamey described Carr as a humble, goodhearted person who didn’t know the meaning of giving up. Because of the unimaginable obstacles he and his family had faced, and the way his parents raised him, Carr truly believed that nothing in life was impossible.
Lamey Decides to Take Action
Even after Carr had finished his workday and been driven home by one of his colleagues, Lamey, and her kids couldn’t stop thinking about him. So Lamey decided she wanted to help in any way she could – so she called Carr’s boss the very next morning.
Luke Marklin, the CEO of Bellhops Moving Company, immediately answered the phone and listened to Lamey’s story. They both ended up crying together on the phone about the resilience of this young man, who had endured the impossible and kept going at all costs. Lamey told Marklin she had an idea to help Walter, and Marklin said he’d help in any way he could.
People Needed to Know His Story
Lamey decided to post the story along with a photo of her family and Carr on her Facebook page. The comments and reactions started pouring in, and people’s replies were overwhelming. “I just can’t tell you how touched I was by Walter and his journey,” posted Lamey.
She went on to say how humble, kind, and cheerful Walter had been from the moment he walked through the door. Here was a young man who had such big dreams; he was one of the most hardworking and toughest people she’d met. “I am in total awe of this young man!” finished Lamey.
Praise for Carr
Furthermore, Lamey used her Facebook post to tell Carr’s story in detail, recounting his arduous journey and how his sheer will and determination got him to where he needed to be. “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,” wrote Lamey.
She wrote that she couldn’t help wondering about how many times he probably thought about resting or stopping, how exhausted he must have felt. “But he walked until he got here!” finished Lamey. The replies and comments kept flurrying in.
Help Is on the Way
Lamey went further and decided to start a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Walter’s car fix. She didn’t know how much the repairs would cost, but she figured she’d start with a set goal of $2000 and then raise it if the fixes turned out to be more costly. Lamey never imagined what would happen in the next few days.
Shortly after creating the account, the campaign had raised over $44,000, and a prominent financial adviser had offered his help to get in touch with Carr and help manage his funds. People were volunteering to help in any way they could.
His Boss Takes Note
Someone who particularly took notice of Lamey’s Facebook post and campaign was Bellhop CEO, Luke Marklin. Lamey had already told him the story by phone, but when he saw what she had written on her post and how people reacted to it and the GoFundMe campaign, he was in shock.
Marklin couldn’t stop thinking of Carr, his determination and strong character, and how one man’s conviction had started an entire communal debate. Marklin thought about his company, Bellhops Moving, and how when he created it, these were the principles he valued – heart and effort, dedication, and determination in the face of any adversity.
Marklin Wanted to Change an Industry
When Luke Marklin decided to start Bellhop Moving Company in 2017, he was clear about his company’s direction. He was trying to change an industry that was broken, not customer-friendly, and often offered people no support in one of the most stressful moments of their lives – moving from one home to another.
His vision was to transform the way moving is done, all with a lot of heart and a lot of grit, as Marklin said in a later interview with ABC News. So, logically, he was very taken with Carr’s story. When he learned about Carr and what he had done, he was blown away. He couldn’t think of a better story of what his company is all about.
Marklin Calls Walter Carr
A few days later, Bellhops CEO Luke Marklin decided to give Carr a call, and a very important one at that. He introduced himself over the phone, told him that Jenny Lamey had told him his story, and asked him if they could meet in person so he could thank him for what he had done.
Carr agreed, and they decided to meet the next morning at a coffee shop near Carr’s home. It was a 30-minute walk from Carr’s apartment, and of course, he went on foot. It was peanuts for him. Meanwhile, Marklin drove from his hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
As Carr approached the coffee shop after his half an hour's walk, he looked through the windows and saw many faces he recognized. He didn’t know what to make of it at first. Apparently, there was a whole posse waiting there for him.
His boss Luke Marklin had asked Jenny Lamey and her three sons, and Officers Knighten, Duffey, Perkinson, and Rhodes from the Pelham Police to wait for his call at a nearby hotel lobby because he had a surprise for Carr. They had received the call and were on their way to the coffee shop so they could arrive before Carr. They all wanted to see his face when Marklin gave him the surprise.
An Unbelievable Gesture
The Lamey family, the Pelham Police officers, and Marklin walked out of the coffee shop to meet Carr in the parking lot. Carr was beginning to get nervous – why were they all there? Had he done something wrong? Was he about to get some terrible news? But Carr couldn’t have been more wrong; he was about to be astonished by what his new friends had arranged for him.
The more Marklin thought about it, the more he realized that the only thing stopping Carr from being an excellent worker at Bellhops and further advancing himself professionally was proper transportation. So, he decided to take action.
Carr was Speechless
Carr met his new friends and, with a confused expression, approached and said hello. They all greeted him back happily and stood waiting for Marklin’s next words. Suddenly, Marklin handed Carr the keys to his 2014 Ford Escape SUV and said to him, “It seemed like the car was going to be put to a lot better use by you”.
Walter Carr didn’t know what to say or do; he was completely speechless. The entire group of people cheered and congratulated Carr; they were all so happy to see his face of utter amazement and joy. Marklin further told Carr that they set a really high bar for people at Bellhops, and Walter just blew it away.
The Tears Started to Come
Carr couldn’t hold the tears back; he was overwhelmed by his boss’s kindness and by the fact that Lamey and her family, as well as the police officers, all came. Not even in his wildest dreams could he have imagined this amazing twist to his story.
Marklin told him that he was an awesome role model, further explaining that he was everything the Bellhops Moving Company stood for. Carr gave Marklin a hug and thanked him repeatedly, telling him he had no idea what this meant to him. The Lameys and the officers all hugged Carr and told him they couldn’t think of someone who deserved this more than him.
An Inspiration to the Community
The story of Carr, his amazing journey, and the very happy ending to a tough story made ABC News. Lamey’s Facebook post had gone viral, and so had the GoFundMe campaign, and such an inspiring story had to be shared with the world.
After ABC News reported on the story and interviewed everybody involved, it took only a few days for everyone in Homewood and Pelham, and eventually the entire state of Alabama, to get wind of the news and feel inspired by Walter’s perseverance and life story. Walter told ABC News he thinks that the lesson of his story is that it’s great to reach people and that he has always wanted to inspire people.
A Chance at a New Life
Walter was on his way to great things – he had a solid means of transportation that would ensure he always got to work safely and for any number of hours he needed. That, in turn, meant he would be able to work harder and make more money to cover his and his mother’s rent and basic expenses.
The fact that his story went viral also meant that he could now contact that financial advisor who had offered his services for free to help him manage his funds. Someone could properly advise him about how to save his money and make smart choices with his small investments.
Changing People’s Lives
Walter not only inspired his community, but he also inadvertently changed a family’s life. When Jenny Lamey was being interviewed by ABC News about Walter and what she thought of him, she sang his praises. She said that she and her family will continue to be inspired by his determination and strength whenever hard times come along.
The Lameys had been going through stressful times with their move; they were changing addresses but also leaving the home where her three sons had grown up. Meeting Walter gave her a newfound sense of hope that everything would work out as long as they kept trying.
Carr Sets an Example
Furthermore, Lamey said that every young person should take Carr’s perseverance and sense of responsibility as an example. Lamey told reporters that Carr was the poster boy for no excuses. She was convinced that it was that faith and diligence that led to the coincidence of him meeting a decent person in Officer Knighten that night at 4 a.m.
And it was faith that made his very first workday be at her house so she and her three boys could meet him. They wouldn’t have gained such a valuable friend, and Carr wouldn’t have been able to inspire so many young people facing hardships to keep going.
Carr has said that he feels incredibly blessed to have been stopped that night and to have met the Lameys, and applied for that job at Bellhops, and for all the new incredible people he’s met. But it’s also clear that Carr is not only that amazing boy who walked nearly 20 miles to get to work on time, but he’s also the first person in his family to attend college.
At Lawson State Community College, Walter was studying to become an occupational therapist in the hopes of being able to help others. After the Marines, his plan is to return to Alabama and become a full-time therapist.
Carr Has Plans
Carr has already thought of transferring to Alabama State University for the final years of his studies. He further told reporters that becoming an occupational therapist had always been on his mind. Many of his friends in high school played all kinds of sports and were always recovering from one injury or another.
He saw how bad it was. So, he figured he wanted to go into a line of work where I could help athletes recover after injury. He further said that he looks forward to helping people with all kinds of problems, whether it be athletes, seniors, or people looking for a healthier, better lifestyle – he wants to help whoever is in need.
An Important Lesson
If there’s one thing that Carr kept repeating throughout this entire ordeal, it is to never give up. It’s precisely this attitude that impressed the officers the night of his 20-mile trek and what blew Jenny Lamey away when she first met him. Carr has said in almost every new interview how happy he is that his story touched people.
Carr has been contacted to give inspirational speeches and tell his story at several local churches and schools, with the hopes of encouraging other young people going through hardship. His messages are to always keep pushing to make things possible and that nobody can defeat you but yourself.