An eight-mile commute to work doesn’t sound too bad—for those who travel close to an hour for work, eight miles sounds like a dream. But eight miles only seems ideal when you’re making that trip by car. On feet, it’s a different story.
That is the reality Donte Franklin was forced to face every day. The 20-year-old cook at Buffalo Wild Wings leaves his home three hours early so he can walk to work and arrive on time. After a long shift, he does it again to get home. He’s never missed a day, never been late to clock in.
Donte Franklin. Credit: The Daily Advent.
“I really don’t care if it gets tiring,” he says. “I just have to keep pushing. I walk just to make my family proud.”
Franklin’s impressive work ethic can be traced back to his mother, who passed away four years ago after a fight with Hepatitis C. Though things have been difficult for Franklin ever sense, he presses on for his family, and for his mother’s memory. He works two jobs to get him through his studies of becoming a welder and to help his family.
Michael Lynn was running errands when he saw Donte Franklin walking in the blazing summer heat. He took notice of the poor man melting in the sun, and when he finished what he needed and found the same young man still on his pilgrimage, he decided to ask if Franklin wanted a ride.
The information Lynn learned about the struggles Franklin has been forced to face in his short 20 years shocked him. By the time the two said goodbye, Lynn knew he had to do something. He posted the story of this dedicated young man on his Facebook, where it was shared by others more than 1,000 times.
One of the people who saw it was Kerri Collins, the administrator of a biking charity group called My Riding Buddies Oklahoma and Bikers for Elves. She and other members of the organization drummed up a surprise for Franklin: a brand-new bike.
Michael Lynn and Donte Franklin. Credit: Antonio Jaramillo.
KOCO 5 News story about Donte Franklin and Michael Lynn.
“Anytime I see something posted concerning anybody anywhere in Oklahoma, I immediately jump in and we do whatever we can as a group,” Keri Collins says. “It just touched me that this man is only 20 years old and is walking to two different jobs with nothing in the heat. It opened my heart because kids his age don’t do that.”
But Donte Franklin’s Oklahoma community didn’t stop there. A GoFundMe was set up in Franklin’s name to buy him a car. The fundraiser recently capped off at $53,590—a lifechanging amount of money for anyone. While he’s currently working towards getting his driver’s license, the money will be used to support his family.
“I can really help my family with this,” said Franklin, “It’s just a really good blessing.”
For the time being, Donte Franklin rides his new bike to work, which cuts his travel time by two thirds. Sometimes, he even gets rides from Michael Lynn, who has grown attached to Franklin and has made it his mission to keep up to date with the young man’s life. He says that “God opened a door, and the rest is up to him.”
Whatever Donte Franklin decides, he has support he otherwise might not have, something that is vastly important.
Donte Franklin receiving his bike. Credit: credit kctv5
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