The Walking Man

There has been this man, about late 60s to early 70s, who has walked in my area of town virtually all day long. I mean, ALL DAY LONG. He apparently has never had a car, and frequently was seen carrying a couple of bags of groceries back to his Section 8 apartment. His name is Robert, but everyone refers to him simply as “The Walking Man.” Now, you are probably thinking with gas prices being what they are, a lot of people are walking these days. The Walking Man was walking when walking wasn’t cool. I’ve seen him, with his cane, shirtless and with a baseball cap to keep the sun out of his eyes, in mid-July, walking down a long stretch of road far from his apartment. I’m talking 95+ degrees and 70-80% humidity. Same thing in the winter, just in reverse temps. I have seen him walk in the rain and in lightning storms. He would never take a ride to my knowledge. Robert is probably in as good a shape as any man even half his age.

I’ve only spoke to him a few times and it was always a brief conversation. One time I spoke to him for about five minutes (which was Robert being a motor mouth for that length of time) when I was pumping gas in my car about six months ago. It was just the normal small talk at first. But, as regulars here will attest, I’m not one who will shy away from asking the tough questions. I finally just blurted right out, why do you walk everywhere? The Walking Man struck a thoughtful pose for a couple of seconds and said, “Because I can..” He said it with a smile. I asked him if there was any place I could drive him. He politely declined my offer. He has always declined offers of driving him anywhere. He said walking is what keeps him healthy, wealthy and wise (he actually said that). He’s been doing this for at least 10 years that I can remember. I’ve actually seen him walking as far away as 15 miles from his apartment. Like I said, he has to be in good shape.

Two weeks ago, as I was making my way out to my car at a local drugstore parking lot, I saw “The Walking Man” getting out of a car…on the driver side! I didn’t even know he could drive. Dumbfounded, I just stood there and watched him getting out of the car as if he had been doing it regularly for the past ten years. Yeah, I had to go talk to him. I asked, “So, I take it you have given up walking now?” The Walking Man, said no way!!! I still do my walks, just not so far as before. I had to ask the ultimate question, “So, after all these years of walking everywhere, why did you suddenly buy a car now (on the assumption he had bought it)?” Robert, The Walking Man, looked at me with a gleam in his eyes and said, “Because I can…now.” And then Robert, The Walking Man, just up and walks off with a grin on his face. I was completely puzzled.

Robert was driving a 2008 Toyota Avalon and paid cash for it. I found out later “The Walking Man” had won $187,000 at a Casino in Biloxi, MS. He must have taken one of the party buses over there. I’m happy for the guy. He deserves it. But, if he drives around town as much as he used to walk, he’ll need the rest of the money just to pay for his gas.


I enjoyed this post. Life has sometimes this kind of stories going on but it takes someone to be aware of them. Thank you for sharing it.
I hope this man doesn’t give up walking entirely so he keeps his good shape :)

I really liked this post. I'm glad he won.

conchita, I doubt Robert will give up walking. I saw him with cane in hand going for his morning walk. He used to be gone until late afternoon. Not any longer. I'm real happy for the guy. He doesn't have anybody to care for him that I'm aware. But, he is happy just keeping to himself. Thanks for stopping by.

Spicy bug, I'm glad he won too. I didn't even know the guy gambled. But, gamble he did and win he did...big time! Thanks for stopping by.

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