Oakland, CA — When an Alabama college student’s car broke down the night before he was slated to start a new job, he didn’t panic. With only $20 in cash to his name, “not enough to call an Uber,” he decided he would walk. So he did.
Walter Carr, 20, trekked 14 miles before he was flagged by police at 4 a.m.
As a young African American man, he was scared. But after telling the officers about his situation, he realized he was “sent a blessing,” he said in a phone interview with YR Media. The officers got him breakfast, then drove him to his first day of work for Bellhops moving company.
At about 6:30 a.m, the police knocked on the door of Jenny and Chris Lamey, who had hired a crew from Bellhops to help them move out of their old home. As Jenny Lamey wrote in a Facebook status that racked up thousands of shares:
“[The police officer] proceeded to tell us that he had picked up 'this nice kid' in Pelham early this morning. The nice kid, Walter, said that he was supposed to help us with our move today.
“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,” Lamey wrote.
By the end of that hot July day, Walter Carr made international news. His story was picked up by dozens of news outlets: The Washington Post, CBS News, USA Today, Fox News, Inside Edition, CNN and more. A GoFundMe was set up. TV appearances were made.
But Carr — who's been attending Lawson State Community College — said he is so much more than the “kid who tried to walk 20 miles.” He’s the first person in his family to attend college, and hopes to become an occupational therapist.
Though he hasn’t applied to transfer to a four-year school yet, Carr has his eyes set on Alabama State University, a historically black college that offers a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy.
"I just wanna help people with health problems. I'm privileged to be able to help all types of people, from sports players to the elderly, to people who wanna get in shape: I want to help whoever needs me,” he said.
Carr has dreamed of becoming an occupational therapist since high school.
“I played all the sports except for track. I never got injured, but a lot of my friends did. Muscle
In the meantime, Carr continues to work for Bellhops, whose CEO was so inspired by Carr’s perseverance that he donated his own car to him. Carr has completed 30 moves so far, and has no intention of stopping anytime soon.
“I am honestly blown away by him. Everything Walter Carr did his first day of work is exactly who we are — heart and grit. So far, he's batting 1,000,” Luke Marklin, CEO of Bellhops, told YR Media.
He’s also given a half-dozen speeches at local schools and churches. “God didn’t put us on this earth for things to be impossible,” he tells kids. “Can’t nobody defeat you but yourself.”
Going forward, Carr hopes that other young people don’t get discouraged. Before he was hired at Bellhops, he says he applied to “dozens of jobs” but didn’t hear back from any.
“God put us in these situations not because he knew we couldn't get through them, but because he knows we can prevail. At the end of the day, if you work hard, you’ll come out with a great blessing," he said.