Friday, September 14, 2018

Tenacity Through Trying Times

This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures

I hope you'll forgive the alliterative title, but I couldn't resist when I read the story of Walter Carr, the subject of today's inspiring story.

Walter Carr is college student based in Birmingham, Alabama, who recently went viral when a story came out about his tenacity in a trying time.

Walter had just gotten a brand new job when his car broke down the day before his first day of work. He had just been hired by Bellhops moving company and was supposed to report for his first day at the home of a client 20 miles away from him by 8 a.m. the next morning. It must have been so stressful to get a brand new job and then find himself in that position!

He had called a friend of his to get a ride to work the next morning, and that friend initially agreed, so Walter put the phone down and took a nap, but when he woke up a few hours later, that friend had left him a voicemail saying he couldn't take him to work the next day, after all.

What a disappointment!

Walter then called around to everyone he knew. NO ONE, not even his girlfriend, could give him a ride to get him to his first day of work.

At this point, I want to know: what would you do?

Would you look at Google Maps and navigate a route to walk 20 miles to work, then calculate what time you'd have to leave home in order to make it to your job shortly before 8 a.m., because you wanted to get there early to make a good impression?

I'm not sure I have that in me, but I guess I'd find out if I'm ever in that situation. 

And that is why I have so much admiration for Walter's tenacity, which was the key to his triumphing over a seemingly insurmountable problem. 

After looking at his phone, Walter realized he'd have to get hopping if he would make it to work the next day. His phone said it would take him 7 hours to walk 20 miles, so he set off a little before midnight on Sunday night. By 2 a.m., he'd made it to the town of Hoover and took a break, then kept walking.

Can you imagine walking all night? My brain immediately goes to all the potential for danger, injury, exhaustion, dehydration ... but this guy just DID IT.

I can't imagine walking all night to work, can you? Photo by Robin Pierre on Unsplash

By 4 a.m., Walter had made it as far as Pelham when a passing cop car stopped to ask where he was headed. He said, "It’s hard to believe, it’s going to sound real crazy, but I’m actually headed to work." He then explained his situation. The cops gave him a ride to a local Whataburger, bought him breakfast and a lunch to go for later, then dropped him off at a local church—the safest place for him to be at 4 a.m.—so he could get a little rest before continuing on his way.

Photo by Matt Popovich on Unsplash
After resting a little while, Walter set off on foot again towards his final destination: the home of the Lameys in Pelham, Alabama. As he was walking, another cop drove by him and stopped, saying, "Get in the car. I got you." Apparently when the cops changed shifts, the former shift informed the new shift to check on Walter and make sure he got to work that day.

So they drove him the rest of the way to his destination, rang the client's doorbell, and explained who Walter is and why they were dropping him off. Jenny Hayden Lamey was so touched by his story that she posted about it on Facebook, and then it came to the attention of the CEO of Bellhops, Luke Marklin.

Marklin surprised Walter with a Ford Escape. But not just ANY Ford Escape. He gave him his own, personal car! In the meantime, Jenny Hayden Lamey started a GoFundMe campaign for Walter that far exceeded the $2,000 asked for. Indeed, he decided to use some of the funds to help others by donating to a nonprofit focused on increasing the number of students in Birmingham City Schools who meet their college, life, and career goals.

As to what he thinks of his walk?  He's quoted as saying: "'I couldn't believe it. I didn’t think that 20-mile walk would mean anything to anybody,' he said. I’m really thankful for it, the car, for everything.'" There he was, just thinking he had to get the job done, but the rewards for his tenacity went so much farther.

In terms of rewards, I'm not just talking about the car or the media attention. I'm talking about creating ripples in his community, tying people together from different walks of life or different places in their careers, simply by his humble actions. In one moment, a college student, a CEO, several cops, and a family all became players in this inspiring story. Since then, the story has made its way around the world inspiring others, and he's developed a friendship with the Lamey family that includes shooting hoops with their kids.

So what did you get out of Walter's tale? Did it make you smile? It made me smile, but it did more than that: it made me realize that tenacity is worth the effort, no matter the rewards. The rewards won't always be something huge like going viral, getting a car and making some money, but they will still be great, simply because I put in the effort to meet my goal. Anything worth having is worth working for, in my own mind. I'm curious as to what your thoughts are?

I have a bunch of additional reading for you, below, if you want to get the story from a variety of sources. But I'd like to close with Carr's own words, which are powerful: "'I've never been that person that gives up,' said Carr, 20. 'I've just never seen myself doing that. I can only be defeated if I allow myself do [sic] be defeated.'"

Thanks again for reading this week's post, and I very much hope it added some joy to your week! Have a wonderful weekend! 🐝

Sources quoted are linked inline. Here they are in full:
USA Today / Washington Post / / Fox News / CBS News / CNN

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