Cash-strapped janitor walks 35 miles daily to work to support sick wife

Reuters/Darren Hauck
He can’t afford the gas, so 61-year-old Steve Simoff spends more than seven hours walking to a casino where he works as a night shift janitor, to support his sick wife and grandson.

Every day, 35 miles of constant walking – and that’s only one way! For Steve Simoff of Davis City, Iowa, it’s the only chance to get to work and earn money for his family. “First of all, when you got a family, and you’ve got a job, you've got to be able to support your family,” he told the Des Moines Register newspaper. “And you've got to keep your job — the most two important things I can think of.”

As Mr Simoff’s shift begins at 11 pm, he leaves his house at around 3:30 pm to come in time. And there is still no chance to rest - he spends his entire shift on his feet with just two 15-minute breaks. The Lakeside Casino pays him $9.07 per hour.

Sometimes drivers stop to pick him up, but it’s a matter of luck. He says it happens more often on weekdays, while on Sunday the traffic is minimal. Mr Simoff wears out his shoes every two months.

Recently his colleague started getting him a lift part of the way. This helped him to cut his way to less than 8 miles back to his house.

Mr. Simoff lives with his wife, Renee, who receives disability benefit after suffering a stroke, and their grandson, Steven, who they adopted. They bought a car recently but still can’t pay for the gas. The reason they live so far away from Steve’s work is a low rent of $400 a month – the only sum they can afford.

READ MORE: Good Samaritans donate to Detroit man who walks 21 miles to work each day

Mr Simoff says he’s unlikely to change his daily route in the near future. “If I don’t get to work, bills don’t get paid,” he said. “As long as my two feet are good and my health is good, I don't think I'll change.”

A month ago, a similar story appeared in Detroit where it was revealed that for 10 years James Robertson had walked 21 miles daily to his factory. And he was one of the most punctual workers.

That story brought him $350,000 in donations and a new car after it received national media attention.