If you happen to be traveling along Interstate 35 in Iowa, you might see a middle-aged man walking on the shoulder.
Steve Simoff, 61, walks more than 30 miles to and from his job as a janitor for the Lakeside Hotel and Casino in Osceola, IA.
In Southern Iowa, Simoff has become a public figure that nobody really knows, his grandson Steven, 22, told The Des Moines Register, which first reported the story.
His job doesn’t start until 11 p.m. But he leaves his basement apartment that he shares with his ailing wife, Renee, and Steven in Davis City, at 3:30 p.m. to get to his $9.07-an-hour job.
"First of all, when you got a family, and you've got a job," he said, "you've got to be able to support your family. And you've got to keep your job — the most two important things I can think of,” he told The Des Moines Register.
Simoff’s wife suffered from a stroke and a pair of heart attacks, and his grandson is unemployed. Between her Social Security Income checks and his salary, they’re barely scraping by, he told The Des Moines Register.
His family has a 2002 Ford Windstar minivan with 105,000 miles on it, but he usually can’t afford the gas money. And as a low-wage worker, he has few housing options.
His commute would be shorter if he took Route 69, a state highway. But more cars travel the Interstate so the odds he’d get a ride are in his favor.
Simoff’s story follows James Robertson’s, a Detroit man who made headlines last month for walking 21 miles round trip to his job for years.
Unlike Robertson, Simoff often gets rides part of the way from sympathetic drivers. But that’s not always reliable, and he still averages close to four hours a day walking to work.
"If I don't get to work, bills don't get paid. As long as my two feet are good and my health is good, I don't think I'll change," he said to The Des Moines Register.