MARIETTA, Ga. - Friday was Floyd Martin's day to sleep in. He didn't.
After nearly 35 years of delivering the mail, the stroke of 5 a.m. pulled him out of bed, as always. It turned out to be a good thing. Friday was Floyd Martin's day to shine.
His heart was full when his head hit the pillow Thursday night. Neighbors in his Marietta, Georgia territory had decorated their mailboxes to surprise him on his last day. Then, hundreds gathered for a block party to celebrate his retirement.
“Continue to take care of each other,” he told the crowd, “and smile when you think of me."
A day later, it seemed the entire internet was smiling and thinking of him. “Mr. Floyd” became a trending topic after hundreds of thousands of people shared a Twitter thread telling his story.
Actor Patton Oswalt was among them:
This thread will make you SO HAPPY. SO SO HAPPY. I needed it this morning. And donate to the GoFundMe at the end (I did!) Reading the thread alone is such an endorphin rush you’ll WANT to contribute. #FloydMartin https://t.co/4rlzAlGHyY— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) May 24, 2019
As was actress Alyssa Milano:
Floyd! Congratulations!— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) May 24, 2019
This is a beautiful thread for a wonderful person. https://t.co/ckBJOrUSNn
And CNN’s Jake Tapper:
Wow this is an amazing thread https://t.co/rcDY8dhOQB— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) May 24, 2019
And NBC’s Willie Geist:
Neighbors launched a GoFundMe campaign hoping to raise $5,000 to help Martin realize his dream of vacationing in Hawaii. The campaign has raised more than $25,000, but Floyd can use those donations for other needs during his retirement. Delta Air Lines is taking care of the flight.
A trip to Hawaii is the perfect way to celebrate a wonderful career. We’d love to to take care of Mr. Martin’s flight. Let’s connect on the details in DM.— Delta (@Delta) May 24, 2019
I called Floyd midmorning Friday to see how his first day off the clock was going.
"I haven't learned to sleep in yet," he said. "I'm still on such a high from yesterday."
Then I let him know about Delta, the celebrities tweeting about him, and the slew of reporters wanting to talk with him.
"What? Oh, my God," he said, stunned. "This is all unbelievable."
Channel 2 Action News was the first broadcaster to share Floyd’s story. The AJC’s corporate cousin aired a piece just hours after the Thursday night block party and followed up the next day with a second piece about the successful GoFundMe campaign.
By Friday morning, I’d heard from journalists at CNN, Fox News, The Washington Post, The Today Showthe "Today" show, ABC"ABCWorld News Tonight", Reuters, Inside"Inside Edition", People, Mother Jones and elsewhere, who were interested in pursuing stories. With his OK, I helped those who wanted to interview him get in touch.
CNN International has shared the story and CBC/Radio-Canada is working on one, as well.
Some outlets, likes MSNBC, the and "The Mel Robbins Show" pulled together quick pieces using my photos, with attribution, after requesting and receiving permission to do so, which is standard industry practice. Some, like Yahoo and The Week, posted aggregated pieces with content and photos embedded from the Twitter thread, which is also a common practice.
“I can’t believe all this is happening,” Martin said.
I can. Coverage of political rancor, international tension, natural disasters, violence and tragedy dominates just about any news cycle. People ache for a bit of good news once in a while.
“I’m not quite sure why but it's reduced me to some tears on my lunch break at work,” Tom Adams, of Northampton, about 60 miles northwest of London, told me in a message. One of his countrymen checked in to let me know Floyd is all the talk across the pond:
Great story Jennifer. You're fully global and happily reading in London about #MrFloyd— Richard Robinson🔥 (@LondonRobinson) May 25, 2019
Stateside, Floyd has people crying happy tears.
I am in TEARS, I don’t even know Floyd and I love him https://t.co/Aq4Iy4ozMm— TJ (@TaylorrrU) May 24, 2019
I’m sitting in an airport with tears streaming down my face. God Bless Floyd! I hope his retirement is everything it should be. Filled with love and blessings!! Thx for sharing!!’— TracyFromJax 🌴✌🏼☀️🐚 (@tracyfromjax) May 24, 2019
This is truly the best thing I’ve read on the internet this week & now I’m crying. And I know exactly the tweet in the thread that will bring the tears for you too! Go Floyd. https://t.co/eDFIkBrylB— Erin Bury (@erinbury) May 24, 2019
When I called Floyd later on Friday to see how the day was going, his phone went to voicemail; I hope he was either packing for Hawaii or getting ready for another nationally televised interview.
Regardless, we'll all see him again in October. Sooner than that, probably, but he's invited to be a celebrity costume judge at Marietta's annual Halloween parade.
“I’ll be back,” he has promised the people on his route, the customers who became family. “Y’all are my life.”
Sarah Bullington organized tonight's sendoff for Floyd and invited him to be a celebrity judge at the Maple Avenue Halloween Parade this Oct. 31. If you've never been .. it's something. pic.twitter.com/27KX47Y5Vt— Jennifer Brett (@Jennifer__Brett) May 24, 2019
Morgan Beatton and River, 18 months, waited for Mr. Floyd today. As always he had treats for their dog, Sage. He said he'll come visit and attend events like Taste of Marietta. "I'll be back," he said. "Y'all are my life."— Jennifer Brett (@Jennifer__Brett) May 22, 2019
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