U.S. Postal Service employee Floyd Martin has worked his route in Marietta, Georgia, for 35 years. He has watched families grow and neighbors grow older. Martin has known some residents for their entire lives.
Wednesday was the mailman's last day on the job, and the community he served decided to send him off in style. Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Jennifer Brett rode along with him on that last day.
Brett tweeted, in a now-viral thread, that Martin graduated from Marietta High School in 1975 and applied to work for the Postal Service a few years later. But when he was offered the job, he had already found employment at a bank. The Postal Service offered him double this salary – that was the start of Martin's tight-knit relationship with the neighborhood, something so rare in modern days.
Martin is, simply put, loved by everyone. "He feeds all the cats," Peggy Corn, who's been on Floyd's route for decades, told Brett. "They all know him, and they know that buggy!"
"The dogs, too," Floyd said. "The dogs get Milk Bones."
Children, who are sure to get a lollipop from Martin, are equally enamored. Mae Bullington even dressed up as Martin when her school had career day. "I was so flattered," Martin said. "It touched my heart."
Joyce Hardin, whose mother is on Martin's route, said that he carried her mother's newspaper to the porch every morning for her. She thanked him for taking care of her mother after her father passed.
Doreen Hipps, 87, has been on Martin's route since his first day on the job. Her granddaughter, Amanda Seals, said, "Dementia has set in, and she doesn't see well anymore, but she still knows Floyd."
"I could have left them a long time ago, but I wouldn't because I love them. And the relationship [with the neighborhood] I couldn't leave it. I could have had an easier route but I wouldn't do it," Martin told Brett.
On the last day of Martin's long career, he found neighbors had decorated their mailboxes in honor of his work and dedication to the neighborhood, but most parcels that day, which were gifts for Martin, were hand-delivered.
"My people are so good to me," he said. "I'm going to miss them."
"Once his very last shift was finally over, the neighborhood had another surprise for Mr. Floyd. 300+ people came to a covered dish block party in his honor," Brett tweeted. He posed for photos with the neighbors and commented on teenagers’ heights, surprised that they had already outgrown him.
During that ride with Brett, Martin confessed that he had always wanted to go to Hawaii. To help realize that dream, the Marietta neighborhood set up a GoFundMe with hopes of giving him a proper retirement vacation. So far, the campaign has raised more than $15,000, far exceeding its $5,000 goal.
According to the GoFundMe page, Delta Airlines offered to cover Martin’s airfare to Hawaii so the funds raised can be spent enjoying his time on the island.
"You were there when I needed you, even if you didn't know it," Martin said to the crowd at the block party, stating that the sendoff was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for him. "Continue to take care of each other, and smile when you think of me."
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