Aaron Wylie is looking for a second job as a long-haul truck driver in order to get an exemption to travel to neighbouring New Brunswick to visit his dying mother.
During his day job, you’ll find Wylie behind the wheel of a bus, working as a transit operator for the Halifax Regional Municipality, but now he’s looking for a part-time job as a truck driver, in order to get through the provincial border between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Wiley’s mother Sandra lives in Saint John, and she’s been diagnosed with liver failure, and on Tuesday, finally broke the news to her son that doctors say she could have two to four months to live, says Wylie.
“It’s trying, I’m not able to be there,” said Wylie. “And when I was hit with this Tuesday, the reality of it hadn’t set in yet.”
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The last time Wylie saw his mother and family was in December 2019. He says his mother had tried to keep her diagnosis from him, knowing he was stuck in Halifax during the third wave lockdown.
As a transit driver, Wylie holds a class 1 license and he’s able to drive any vehicle on the road except for a motorcycle.
The 45-year-old has worked as a long-haul truck driver before, and now in his desperation, getting a job as a truck driver could be his ticket to seeing his mother and getting across the border without having to quarantine when he returns, as he couldn’t afford the time off work.
“I know what I get paid. I’m not eating lobster and caviar,” said Wylie. “I’m like most blue-collar East Coasters or Canadians for that matter and I’m working pay-to-pay.”
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Wylie posted a job ad, looking for work and shared his personal story on the employment page on Kijiji. Once someone shared it to Facebook, the ad went viral on social media.
Wylie said he was ready to drive a truck and do a shipment for free, if in return, he got to see his mother. Already the job offers have rolled in, with companies looking to hire him.
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He’s had several people reach out to offer financial support, and many others reached out and shared similar stories, which he says has left him feeling overwhelmed by the compassion and support of strangers.
“I’ve had hundreds of emails, texts, offers and phone calls,” said Wylie. “The offers started rolling in even before it hit Facebook.”
Wylie said the language in the public health orders regarding essential travel is loose, and he believes he’s got every right to drive a big rig across the border, but he’s wrestling with the idea and wondering morally if it’s the right thing to do.
“I have that moral compass that is pointed everywhere but New Brunswick, because of the situation and a lot of it has been of the hundreds of texts and emails that I have gotten from people in the same situation.”
Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang has said on numerous occasions for people to not look for loopholes, and to abide by the public health restrictions.
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Wylie says he has reached out to public health about his situation but has yet to hear back on any decisions around his situation, but says he can’t wait forever to get the green light from the province.
“It’s a dilemma but at the same time, it’s my mother. There’s nothing that’s going to stop me from getting there,” said Wylie. “I’ve tried to go through the right channels because I want to keep everybody safe but nobody is getting back to me.”
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