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James Robertson’s New Life

A new home, a different life for walking man

A new home. New money. A new car. New friends. And some old friends who aren't friends anymore.

In the days after his sudden fame, walking man James Robertson moved twice in three weeks so that he could elude those hounding him for money — ultimately filing a personal protection order against his landlady, who was also his ex-girlfriend. Detroit police helped move Robertson after his two windfalls — the $360,000 in tax-free gifts donated by total strangers on three GoFundMe pages, and a $35,000 metallic-red Taurus given to him by a local auto dealer. Authorities weren't taking any chances after an 86-year-old lottery winner was found dead in a vacant Detroit house last month, six weeks after family members said he'd won a $20,000 prize.

Now settling in at a new apartment in Troy, Robertson is modestly rich. He was venerated for walking 21 miles a day, to and from an hourly job where he'd had a decade of perfect attendance. After the Free Press told his story, Robertson vaulted from obscurity to being the standard bearer for Detroit's mass transit woes, the need for auto insurance reform, the income gap and the "living wage."

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