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Heroes

A truck driver desperate to see his dying mom put out a call for help and was blown away

A truck driver desperate to see his dying mom put out a call for help and was blown away
via Andrew_Writer / Flickr

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.

via Kijiji

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."

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."



All images provided by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

Collins after being selected by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

True

A changemaker is anyone who takes creative action to solve an ongoing problem—be it in one’s own community or throughout the world.

And when it comes to creating positive change, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective can hold just as much power as years of experience. That’s why, every year, Prudential Emerging Visionaries celebrates young people for their innovative solutions to financial and societal challenges in their communities.

This national program awards 25 young leaders (ages 14-18) up to $15,000 to devote to their passion projects. Additionally, winners receive a trip to Prudential’s headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, where they receive coaching, skills development, and networking opportunities with mentors to help take their innovative solutions to the next level.

For 18-year-old Sydnie Collins, one of the 2023 winners, this meant being able to take her podcast, “Perfect Timing,” to the next level.

Since 2020, the Maryland-based teen has provided a safe platform that promotes youth positivity by giving young people the space to celebrate their achievements and combat mental health stigmas. The idea came during the height of Covid-19, when Collins recalled social media “becoming a dark space flooded with news,” which greatly affected her own anxiety and depression.

Knowing that she couldn’t be the only one feeling this way, “Perfect Timing” seemed like a valuable way to give back to her community. Over the course of 109 episodes, Collins has interviewed a wide range of guests—from other young influencers to celebrities, from innovators to nonprofit leaders—all to remind Gen Z that “their dreams are tangible.”

That mission statement has since evolved beyond creating inspiring content and has expanded to hosting events and speaking publicly at summits and workshops. One of Collins’ favorite moments so far has been raising $7,000 to take 200 underserved girls to see “The Little Mermaid” on its opening weekend, to “let them know they are enough” and that there’s an “older sister” in their corner.

Of course, as with most new projects, funding for “Perfect Timing” has come entirely out of Collins’ pocket. Thankfully, the funding she earned from being selected as a Prudential Emerging Visionary is going toward upgraded recording equipment, the support of expert producers, and skill-building classes to help her become a better host and public speaker. She’ll even be able to lease an office space that allows for a live audience.

Plus, after meeting with the 24 other Prudential Emerging Visionaries and her Prudential employee coach, who is helping her develop specific action steps to connect with her target audience, Collins has more confidence in a “grander path” for her work.

“I learned that my network could extend to multiple spaces beyond my realm of podcasting and journalism when industry leaders are willing to share their expertise, time, and financial support,” she told Upworthy. “It only takes one person to change, and two people to expand that change.”

Prudential Emerging Visionaries is currently seeking applicants for 2024. Winners may receive up to $15,000 in awards and an all-expenses-paid trip to Prudential’s headquarters with a parent or guardian, as well as ongoing coaching and skills development to grow their projects.

If you or someone you know between the ages of 14 -18 not only displays a bold vision for the future but is taking action to bring that vision to life, click here to learn more. Applications are due by Nov. 2, 2023.
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