It has been a whirlwind week for Aaron Wylie, he's been overwhelmed by sadness, desperation, and finally, gratitude. Wylie is a bus driver for Halifax Transit in Nova Scotia.
On Tuesday afternoon he learned his mother has terminal liver disease and just two to four months to live.
He was desperate to go see his mother in Saint John, New Brunswick but knew that he faced a few roadblocks that seemed insurmountable.
Currently, in Canada people are not allowed to travel from Nova Scotia to New Brunswick unless they isolate for 14 days. Wylie had already used up all of his vacation days and couldn't afford any more time off.
However, he learned that there was one way he could get across the border to see his mother. In Canada, truck drives are classified as essential workers and he happens to have his Class 1 license. All he needed was a trucking job that crossed the border into New Brunswick.
So he went on Kijiji, an online classified forum, and put some feelers out for jobs that would allow him to drive to New Brunswick. "I know this is a bit of an odd request but I'm looking for a class 1 position. I have Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday off, I work full time at Halifax Transit," he wrote. "I am looking for a route that will run Halifax to Saint John.… I am willing to drive for free!"
"My mother was diagnosed with terminal liver failure and was given two months to live today, May 11, and I have no way to cross NS border," he added, signing off with his phone and email address.
Wylie didn't expect much of a response. "I didn't really think I'd get much of a reaction," he said. Boy was he wrong.
Almost immediately, Wylie's phone wouldn't stop ringing. Someone on Kijiji put his ad on Facebook where it was shared over 5,000 times.
Countless people offered him jobs that went to New Brunswick. Another offered their liver for a transplant. Others said they'd send money to help the family.
"I was just blown away," Wylie told the CBC while choking up. "These are people I don't even know."
Desperate to see his dying mom, a bus driver put out a plea. The response bowled him over: https://t.co/zSOIMIkeAp https://t.co/raHsYs3ueI— CBC New Brunswick (@CBC New Brunswick) 1620990525.0
Wylie accepted two of the trucking offers but now has to figure out how to see his mother after crossing the border. New Brunswick has a mandate that all drivers from outside the province must limit their activities to only those that are work-related.
Given the fact that rules are constantly shifting due to a recent decline in COVID-19 cases and the steady increase in vaccinations, Wylie is hopeful he'll be able to see his mother soon.
But his spirits have been uplifted due to the overwhelming number of strangers who stepped up to help him.
"It's been an overwhelming response and an emotional one," Wylie said. "I hope I can get there, but whether I do or not, it's [heartwarming] to know that that support was there."
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