This is the kind of story I love to see because it’s a reminder that for all the things we worry and complain about in America there are also a lot of things still going right. In this case, what’s going right is Walter Carr, a 20-year-old college student in Alabama who got a job working at a moving company called Bellhops Moving. The night before his first day of work, he discovered his car had died. USA Today picks up the story from here:
The night before Carr’s first day on the job, his 2003 Nissan Altima broke down.
He called his friends and his girlfriend to try to get a ride, but nothing worked out. He checked his GPS and saw that without a car it would take him about 7 hours to get from his house in Homewood, Alabama, to the town of Pelham for his first day at Bellhops moving company.
He decided to walk.
Carr started his 20-mile trek sometime around midnight.
“I wanted to be there before 8,” he said. “I wanted to beat the crew members there to let the company know how dedicated I am.”
He made it about 14 miles to Pelham when police officers stopped him on the side of the road around 4 a.m.
“He was like, ‘Where are you going?’ and I was like, ‘It’s hard to believe, it’s going to sound real crazy, but I’m actually headed to work.'” Carr said.
So the local police decided to buy Carr breakfast. After breakfast they dropped him off still several miles from his destination but promised someone else would check in on him. Another police car came by and drove him the remaining few miles to the house of Jenny Hayden Lamey, the woman Carr was supposed to help move on his first day of work. He was more than an hour early.
Carr didn’t say anything to the homeowner, but by this time word had gotten around and the police officer who dropped him off shared the story with Jenny Lamey. She decided to write about her interactions with Carr on Facebook:
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…I asked Walter if he wanted to go upstairs and rest until everyone else arrived. He declined and said he could go ahead and get started. So he began working alongside Chris and I before the rest of the crew arrived…
As the crew arrived one by one I saw them interacting in the street outside our house. Shaking each other’s hands and all of them just as cheerful and ready for the day as Walter was. Walter and I emerged from the house and one of the crew, Shawn, saw us and said to Walter “You must be one of the recruits…let me shake your hand. Thanks for showing up!” He extended his hand to shake Walter’s. He was in total appreciation to him for being there. I guess it may be common for a “recruit” as he referred to him as, to not show up leaving the rest of the crew without the extra man they were counting on. I just looked at Shawn and said, “you wouldn’t believe what he did to get here. Tell him Walter”. Walter said “I walked”. That was it. Humble. I asked him to share a little more and when he did, the crew was in awe of him too! I don’t know that Walter would have shared if I hadn’t asked him to.
So yes, yesterday we moved. Yesterday was crazy. Yesterday was long and hard and hot. But…Walter.
The moving took place on a Saturday. By Sunday, Jenny Lamey’s Facebook post was starting to go viral thanks in part to Bellhop Moving’s twitter account:
This deserves 1000 retweets! Read this amazing story about Walter, a new bellhop in Birmingham.
— Bellhops (@BellhopsMoving) July 15, 2018
It also got the attention of the company’s CEO who praised Walter’s “grit and heart” and wrote “we set a high bar on service and he just raised it.”
This is an incredible story. The grit and heart Walter showed defines Bellhops' culture precisely. I'm really proud to be on the same team as Walter… we set a high bar on service and he just raised it. Look forward to thanking him in person this week. https://t.co/Fr4ytu5CM1
— Luke Marklin (@LukeMarklin) July 15, 2018
But it didn’t end there. Bellhops’ CEO decided the company needed to do something to make sure Walter could get around and he came up with a solution: He gave him his personal car.
So, on his first day, Walter inspired everyone around him: the police, the homeowner, his co-workers, the CEO of the company. USA Today reports Carr was surprised by all the fuss. “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t think that 20-mile walk would mean anything to anybody.” he said. Walter did admit that his feet were killing him during the long walk but he added, “I had to get the job done.”
AL.com is reporting that after he finishes his two-year degree, Carr hopes to join the Marines and then come back and get a four-year degree. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Marines would be lucky to have him. Sometimes it just takes one person raising the bar to inspire everyone around them to do likewise.
We have some real problems in America right now and we hear about those all day long, but thank goodness that’s not the whole story. As Jenny Lamey said, “But…Walter.”