Tales from the socioeconomic fringe

An Iowa man has “one upped” the story of the Detroit man who walked 21 miles a day to get to his job.

Steve Simoff’s daily journey is 35 miles along I-35.

His janitor job doesn’t start until 11 p.m., so he leaves for work at 3:30, the Des Moines Register says.

“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.”

Since he’s more visible, Simoff benefits from sympathetic good Samaritans who stop and ask if he needs a lift. He doesn’t thumb rides.

“It all depends on weather and what people feel like that day, if they’re going to stop and pick you up,” he said.

Simoff has cultivated a diverse patchwork of road friends in his on-and-off decade as southern Iowa’s epic walker.

“He can’t go into the grocery store without seeing one of them,” Renee said.

On milder winter days, Simoff usually pulls on his pair of black SAS shoes, bundles in a warm coat and slaps a ballcap atop his thick head of salt-and-pepper hair. No gloves.

His job pays $9.07 an hour.