DETROIT – Everyman’s hard-workin’, hard-walkin’ commuting hero finally got a car.
Detroiter James Robertson, whose daily marathons of walking to a suburban factory job made him an overnight media celebrity, registered total surprise as he walked into the Suburban Ford dealership in Sterling Heights, expecting just to “get some brochures,” said Blake Pollock, the UBS banker who befriended Robertson last year while passing him on the road and began giving him lifts in bad weather.
This week, Pollock has shepherded Robertson through a media frenzy.
Instead of brochures, Robertson had a sea of reporters waiting — and a bright red new car.
And what car did he choose? Forget the glitz that car buffs ogle each year at Detroit’s auto show. Robertson, true to his modest roots and humble nature, will drive the model that he repeatedly said he admired, in terms that surely delighted legions of marketers in Dearborn: a Ford Taurus, because “it’s simple on the outside and strong on the inside — like me.”
He had told Pollock he’d like a red or burgundy car. Waiting for him, in optional ruby-red metallic, was a 2015 Taurus loaded with options and topped with a moonroof.
MSRP: $ 35,215.
“I can’t thank people enough. I can’t wait to show my co-workers,” Robertson said, as he was handed the keys — and tried to start the car with them.
“No, you just push this button,” said David Fischer Jr., co-owner of the Suburban Collection chain of dealerships, including Suburban Ford.
With a crowd of TV cameras rolling, Robertson rode off shotgun with a dealership employee driving, “to demo the car for him, because he hasn’t been driving lately, OK?” Fischer said to Robertson’s friend Pollock, who arranged the gift.
“I love it,” Robertson said with a grin, after shaking hands with the man he calls Mr. Blake.