Neighbors have started a Go Fund Me to help Martin realize his dream of visiting Hawaii, and Delta Air Lines contacted The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to make it happen. We called this morning to let him know.
“What? Oh my God!” he exclaimed at the happy news.
Delta shared the note they sent:
“Mr. Martin, you’ve touched many lives, helping connect those on your mail route to their families and friends through the letters you delivered. We too are all about connections; on behalf of Delta employees, enjoy your trip to Hawaii—we can’t think of a better way to kick off your retirement. Cheers.”
Martin delivered the mail in Marietta for nearly 35 years. But he did so much more.
The dogs and cats on his route could always count on him for a treat. Little kids knew he was always good for a lollipop.
He’d bring the mail inside and visit a minute when a sleep-deprived new mom was juggling laundry and diapers. He’d bring in the newspaper along with the mail so his elderly clients wouldn’t have to walk to the ends of their driveway.
“His presence and smile are such an integral part of our 28 years here,” said Trish Nicolas, one of hundreds of neighbors who turned out for a huge block party in his honor.
Amanda Seals recalled meeting Martin as a new college graduate, when she was living with her grandmother.
“Dementia has set in, and she doesn't see well anymore, but she still knows Floyd,” Seals said.
Martin’s route includes about 500 houses, and many people on his route decorated their mailboxes as a surprise on his last day. Once his final shift was over, everyone gathered for a block party in his honor.
“I’m so filled with joy right now,” he said.
Here’s a thread filled with photos and video clips from last night:
Martin was working at a bank a few years after school when the U.S. Postal Service got in touch. The offer would double his pay. When do I start? he asked.
He didn’t have the “postal pace” at first, and thought about quitting at times. It was his mom’s suggestion that he apply, and her encouragement kept him on the route. He was sad she’s no longer here. How touched she would have been at the hundreds of people who showed up to wish him well.
“Thank you for caring about me. We’ve gone through good times and bad times together,” he said. “You were there when I needed you, even if you didn’t know it.”
Floyd Martin with Michael and Mamie Hodnett at his retirement party. Photo: Jennifer Brett