Aaron Wylie was punching the clock – like any other day. He works as a bus driver for Halifax Transit in Nova Scotia, Canada. He was in the middle of a busy workday when he got unfortunate news from New Brunswick – another province in Canada. He had just learned that his mother, Sandra, was diagnosed with terminal liver disease. The doctors gave her no more than two weeks to live. Aaron had to do something – and quickly too.
The last time Aaron and his mom saw one another was December 2019. Even back then, she kept her illness under wraps. In his feature with Global News Canada, Aaron said his mother had tried to keep her diagnosis from him, knowing he was stuck in Halifax during the third wave lockdown. It seemed like all hope was lost. Aaron had used up all his vacation days, and even if he was granted leave, he would have to self-isolate for 14 days.
After some out-of-the-box thinking, Aaron realized something. As a truck driver (an essential laborer) and a Class 1 license holder, Aaron could get into New Brunswick if he was fulfilling a trucking job. He also wouldn’t have to go through the 2-week self-isolation. However, truck drivers in Canada have their own set of restrictions whenever they cross provincial borders. That was the last thing on his mind though.
Aaron turned to Kijiji, an online classified forum for help. It’s basically Canadian Craigslist. Mr. Wylie post his ad and it read:
“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.
“I didn’t really think I’d get much of a reaction,” Aaron said. He couldn’t have been more wrong. Someone posted his Kijiji listing on Facebook. It got shared over 5,000 times within a matter of hours. Not only did Aaron get a ton of jobs that would take him to New Brunswick, people offered him financial assistance and someone even offered a liver transplant. “I was just blown away,” Wylie told CBC. “These are people I don’t even know.”
Wylie can now get to his mother in good time. However, COVID restrictions in New Brunswick state that truckers from outside the province should only engage in work-related activities for the duration of their stay. Given the increased availability of the COVID-19 vaccine and greater leniency in pandemic regulations in Canada, Wylie is hopeful that he’ll see his mother. After all, CBC said that exceptions to the regulations are being made on a case-by-case basis. “I hope I can get there, but whether I do or not, it’s [heartwarming] to know that that support was there,” Aaron said.