Even though Walter Carr's vehicle broke down the night before his first day on the job with a moving company, he was determined to show his dedication. And now that dedication has been rewarded with his CEO's personal car.
Carr started walking at midnight to be sure he'd get to his first assignment, according to a Facebook post by Jenny Hayden Lamey, whose family he was helping to move.
The determined employee made it from Homewood, just outside Birmingham, to Pelham, nearly 20 miles away, all on foot. In Pelham, police officers spotted him.
After hearing his story, the officers took him out to breakfast before dropping him off at Lamey's home. He was still the first to arrive of all nine Bellhops employees assigned to help with the move. In her Facebook post, Lamey reflected on what a great experience she'd had and on how humble Carr was when receiving praise from the officers, his coworkers and Lamey's family.
"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!" Lamey wrote in her Facebook post. "I am in total awe of this young man!"
Lamey wrote that she was further inspired by Carr after learning that he is a Marine and that he moved to the area after he and his mother lost their New Orleans home in Hurricane Katrina.
As for Carr, he said he was just trying to prove that he cared about his job.
"I wanted to show them that I have the dedication, and that I always have in my life and that I am going to get to this job one way or the other," he told WBMA. Carr said that if he tells people that if they think his journey was far, "then come walk in my shoes, because my shoe was really killing me that day."
Lamey's post made the rounds on social media and caught the attention of Luke Marklin, the CEO of Bellhops. On Monday, just three days after the 20-mile trek, Marklin made the trip down from the company's Tennessee headquarters to meet Carr. Marklin then handed Carr the keys to his own Ford Escape.
"I'd like to give you this car right here. Today. Like right now. Like you can drive away with it," Marklin said.
Carr reacted to the surprise with shock and awe. After the emotional day, Lamey wrote in another post on Facebook that she considers Carr a role model of how to overcome hard days.
"That walk Walter made has brought him into the hearts and homes and businesses of thousands of Americans all across the country," she wrote. "He gives us hope and courage and renews our faith in the resiliency of the human spirit."