Hotel guest raises money to buy a bike for employee who walks to work

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 4:31 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT
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SHAWANO, Wis. (WBAY) - An employee at the Menominee Casino Resort in Keshena won’t have to walk nearly ten miles to work anymore. The man’s kindness and friendly attitude, at work, inspired a hotel guest to help him get some wheels.

Rito Escalante is a happy man. He’s got some new wheels to get to and from his job at the Menominee Casino Resort in Keshena.

“This will really be good for me,” says Escalante about his new bike.

For the past five years, through all types of weather, Escalante has walked almost twenty miles, roundtrip from his home in Shawano to work in Keshena.

“I leave here at 6:30, during the wintertime, that way I give myself almost two hours to get there that’s during the winter,” says Escalante. He adds, “And if it rains, I’d throw on a poncho, plastic poncho. If I can’t find a ride, I just start walking or hiking, so either way I hike every day.”

It was last month, at his work, that Escalante crossed paths with Jim Scatena, a hotel guest. According to Scatena “Walking out of the hotel, there was this maintenance guy scrubbing the floor and he looked up, gave me a nice wave and said good morning. I acknowledged him. The next morning I came out and he’s pushing the cart around, full of dirty laundry, and he says again, hey how are you. And I said good.”>

A day later, the two crossed paths again. Scatena saw Escalante walking down the road. “I stopped and I rolled down the window and said hey are you going to work, kind of kidding because we’re about 10 miles away from the casino and he said yes, as a matter of fact, I’m going to work. And I said how are you getting there and he said, I’m walking,” says Scatena.

Scatena turned his car around and gave Escalante a ride to work, the two chatting along the way. Inspired by Escalante’s dedication to his job, Jim Scatena collected donations from some friends and reached out to The Bike Hub in De Pere.

The bike shop putting together a great bike and accessories for Escalante. Owner, Scott Steeno, delivered the bike Escalante. He says, “You could just tell that he was excited to get this bike and he was going to love it.”

Escalante does love his bike. He adds, “No one has ever done this for me before. This is my first time receiving something like this and I’m really grateful and thankful for it.”

The gift meaning just as much to Jim Scatena too, who says, “I just knew it was something I had to do. I knew he was there and I was there for a reason. I deeply respect hardworking people because I’m from Pittsburgh. And this guy was making all the effort, I wasn’t going to let him walk anymore.”

And Escalante won’t walk again, even enjoying his bike on his day off from work.

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