An Emotional Reaction
Although Walter never intended to become so emotional, it became too much to bear. He only made an effort to arrive at work in time for his day. He couldn't help but feel unworthy of this.
His feelings were screaming right now. The tears started to come before he could control them. All the emotions from everything that had happened finally overcame him as they spilled like a river.
He Was Just A Kid
Walter Carr was a resident of Five Points West, one of the most depressed areas of Birmingham, Alabama. He was barely out of high school. He’d never had an easy life. Despite his young age, he had an old soul.
As a child, he had seen many things no kid should ever see, and those experiences shaped his life in an irreversible way.
Above And Beyond
Ever since Walter could remember, his parents had always gone above and beyond to give him and his three brothers a good life. However, their best sometimes wasn’t good enough.
Walter’s parents were hard workers; still, the family didn’t have much. For the last 10 days of the month, no one in the family was allowed to shower with hot water; they simply couldn’t afford it.
Guidance And Support
Despite always being busy with second and third jobs to pay the bills, Walter’s parents had always tried to be there for their kids and provide them with guidance and support.
They were well aware that poverty is not only a material state but also a mental one. The last thing they wanted was for their kids to make the wrong decisions and take the wrong path.
Top Of His Class
Walter knew all of this and acted accordingly. He applied himself in high school and ended up graduating at the top of his class.
His biggest motivation was making his parents proud and relieving them of the pressure of being the only breadwinners, and getting a decent job to contribute to the house’s finances. However, he would soon find an obstacle in this path.
When Walter graduated, his parents were as proud and happy as they could be. Although Walter was the second of their four kids, he was the first of them to graduate from high school.
His older brother, Marvin, who was four years older than him, had dropped out, breaking his parents’ hearts. But that wasn’t the worst part.
Marvin had been the incarnation of his parents’ worst fears. Growing up, he was intensely frustrated with the situation at home.
He couldn’t come to terms with the rather limited lifestyle that the household’s measly budget could cover. Even though their school wasn’t in an affluent area, everyone in his class had more than him.
Marvin hated having to wear the same clothes and the same beat-up shoes every other day; growing up, he was pretty vocal about his dissatisfaction. He was rebellious too.
Every day, his parents prayed and tried their best to avoid what they knew was a real possibility: Marvin becoming cannon fodder for the streets. Until one day, it happened.
The Wrong Path
Marvin started hanging around the wrong people, and they put the wrong ideas in his head. The next thing his parents knew, Marvin was arrested and taken to the police station, where he was questioned about his involvement in a robbery ring.
But right before his trial, something unthinkable happened that left Marvin’s parents crying for days.
Marvin vanished without a trace. He was staying in his parents’ house for the days before the trial, and one day, they knocked on his bedroom door only to find he was gone.
Naturally, everyone assumed that he was on the run. The police began looking for him all across the state. However, besides his location, there was one more question in the air.
Accessory After The Fact
Did Marvin’s parents help him escape from law enforcement? Or, in other words: could they be charged for accessory after the fact?
After being questioned by the police forces several times, the authorities concluded that Marvin’s parents didn’t have any part in his escape. They left them alone with their grief, at least for the time being.
It Wasn’t Easy
Those were the circumstances Walter had to endure during his time in high school. It wasn’t easy; however, he stuck through it and managed to graduate at the top of his class.
After all the misfortunes his parents had gone through, he wanted to help them out and make them proud. However, it wouldn’t be an easy path.
Walter knew he had to find a way to make things happen for himself, but he soon found out the harsh truth about the conditions of the area’s employment market.
Lacking the benefit of a tertiary education, Walter was disheartened when he first started job hunting. He had his high school diploma, alright, but he soon realized that wasn’t enough.
It Was Tough Out There
Walter had a willingness to work hard and a desire to prove himself. Unfortunately, every local job vacancy seemed to require further education, previous experience, or both.
Walter had none of these. He was beginning to lose hope after every application he sent never yielded anything positive. However, one day Walter suddenly received a call that would change his entire life.
There Was Finally Hope
One of Walter’s friends had come across an opening at a small furniture removal company. After being in touch with the owner, Walter was offered his first job. It was the weekend, and he was expected to start that coming Monday.
Walter was ecstatic and could not wait to start his first job. However, when Sunday evening came around, he was left crestfallen again.
A Huge Obstacle
Walter’s manager informed him that they had a job the following day to help a woman move furniture to her new house. Walter was given the address and expected to be there at 8 AM sharp. The problem: Walter’s car hadn’t been starting.
He meant to get it fixed after his first paycheck. The job was 20 miles away in Pelham, Alabama. Walter had no way of getting there as no buses ran that early from his neighborhood.
He Was Determined
Walter Carr was an extraordinary young man. Realizing he either had to make a plan or miss his first day of work, Walter decided nothing would keep him from getting there.
Checking a map, he worked out that if he started walking that day, he could reach his destination on foot by the morning. That same evening, he started walking.
The Long Walk
Walter’s walk was long and tiring. Walking along the main road in the dead of night by himself was a hairy experience. He encountered stray animals and many scary sounds coming from the woods nearby.
Any boy in Walter’s position would have probably given up and turned back. But not him. Maybe that was his mistake.
He Wasn’t Afraid
The dark was so deep he had to bring out his phone to light up the road ahead of him. But he wasn’t afraid. He knew he had to get to Pelham in time, whatever it took.
However, at some point, he heard something behind him. Then, he saw the lights. He didn’t know yet, but things were about to take a turn.
As if the darkness and the eerie sounds weren’t troubling enough, Walter soon heard a car approaching. It was starting to slow down behind him, and a part of him was afraid to look back.
Were they coming from him? Who was inside the car? What could they even be doing on the highway that late at night?
It Got Worse
Walter kept walking but was starting to feel nervous. The car got closer. He wanted to turn but just kept his head down and continued walking.
Knowing it was late and it must have seemed strange that he was walking alone, Walter couldn’t help but tense up. He had the temptation to start running, but he thought that could make things worse. And there was another thing.
He was paralyzed with fear. Even if he wanted to run, his muscles wouldn’t have obeyed him. All he could do was keep walking and pray that the people in that car wouldn’t have bad intentions.
Then he heard a sound that made his blood run cold. When blue lights flashed and a siren beeped, he realized it was a cop car behind him.
He Was Confused
After enquiring why he was walking alone at that time, the officers eyed Walter suspiciously when he told them why. They looked at him like he was crazy. He could almost see the wheels turning in their minds as they were trying to figure out if he was making up a story.
When he gave them his bosses and told them they could check with him, the officers told him to get into the car.
Now He Was Panicking
Walter was afraid to disobey and got into the car. The officers did not explain why they asked him to jump in with them. He was worried now and wondered if he was being arrested.
After the tension grew too much to handle, Walter asked. He was told that they were headed to the “station”.
After reaching the station, Walter was introduced to the captain and told to “wait”. After he explained his story again, he was starting to worry now.
Time was passing, and it was already almost morning. If he were held up much longer, he’d never make it in time. Finally, the police captain explained why he was there.
They Were Impressed
After hearing what Walter had tried to do to get to his job, the captain and his colleagues decided to help Walter.
They were so impressed with the young man’s work ethic they offered to let him hang out till morning. But that wasn’t all. They had another offer for him that would make Walter choke up.
They Offered Him A Ride
They then promised to give him a ride to the destination the next day so he wouldn’t have to walk the rest of the way and could get there well-rested.
Walter was so happy he could barely hold back his emotions. He was expecting the worst, but now he was glad the police officers had crossed his path. He thanked them profusely and prepared for the morning after.
The Next Morning
The following day, the kind officers kept their promise and gave Walter a lift to his job in a squad car. They had even gone the extra mile and bought him breakfast.
As he reached the house and met the owner, Jenny Lamey, was overcome after hearing his story. After his colleagues arrived and they completed the job, Jenny was so taken with Walter’s dedication that she felt compelled to help him.
The Kindness Of Strangers
Jenny Lamey could not stand by knowing a wonderfully hard-working and dedicated young man like Walter had to struggle so much just to get to work.
Taking his story public, she started a “go fund me.” Initially trying to raise a minimum of $2,000.00 for him, his story touched people so much that she was able to raise $44,000.00 for him. But that wasn’t all.
His New Life
Lamey’s friend, a business owner named Luke Marklin, offered Walter a new job closer to his home. If that wasn’t enough, Walter was asked to a meeting where Marklin and Jenny surprised him with a new car to call his own.
Walter was moved to tears by all the generosity and support. He felt he didn’t deserve so much, but people who heard his story all agreed he embodied grit, hard work, and dedication and deserved it all. In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.