If you found out someone you loved only had months to live, you’d likely move heaven and earth to be with them. Unfortunately, in the complex era of coronavirus, heaven and earth are all too often mired in a sea of red tape.
Bus driver Aaron Wylie lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His mom, Sandra, who has liver disease, lives with his dad a four-hour drive away in Saint John, New Brunswick. He hasn’t seen them since Christmas of 2019.
Devastated when he learned Sandra’s prognosis was terminal, all Wylie wanted to do was find a way to see her while there was still time, but with pandemic travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine paired with budget constraints and lack of time off, it looked as if the visit might be pretty much impossible.
Then he got an idea.
Wylie, who drives a bus for Halifax Transit in Nova Scotia, has a Class-1 license—which allows him to drive a truck. Since truck drivers are classed as essential workers, he thought if he could score a gig delivering a payload to New Brunswick, he might just be able to make the trip happen after all.
Hoping for a miracle, he placed an ad on Canada’s popular classified network site Kijiji.
“I know this is a bit of an odd request but I’m looking for a class 1 position,” he wrote. “I have Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off—I work full-time at Halifax Transit. I am looking for a route that will run Halifax to Saint John… I am willing to drive for free!”
He went on to explain the details of his mom’s diagnosis and said he needed to find a way to cross the border, both legally and as soon as possible.
Wylie admits he wasn’t expecting a lot of feedback on his post, but almost at once, offers of trucking jobs, financial help—and even someone willing to test as a live liver donor for his mom—began streaming in.
The request got more than 5,000 shares on Facebook, and the response was so overwhelming, Wylie had to turn off his phone and take down the Kijiji post.
Wylie has since taken up an offer to haul cars from Halifax to Saint John, but he’s yet to receive clearance to travel. In the meantime, he’s getting vaccinated and plans to be tested for COVID-19 before and after making the trip.
Canadian health restrictions are currently in flux. Rules and restrictions change from day to day, hour to hour. Even as Wylie anxiously awaits the go-ahead, he’s humbled by the outpouring of encouragement he’s received from total strangers thus far.