An entire community in Georgia showed up to honor a beloved mailman on his last day of work. For 35 years, Floyd Martin has delivered the mail to residents in Marietta, and on the day of his retirement, a neighborhood rallied to celebrate him.
Jennifer Brett, a senior reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, tagged along for Martin's last delivery route. Martin became a postal worker with United States Postal Service (USPS) shortly after graduating high school and made many friends over the years.
One resident, Lorraine Wascher was waiting for Martin to arrive. "She's been a stop on his route for more than 20 years," Brett wrote on Twitter, sharing a photo of Wascher hugging Martin. "He always had a smile, always had a wave."
A little girl named Mae shared the story of how she dressed like Martin for career day at school.
"I was so flattered," the mailman said. "It touched my heart." Brett shared a photo of Martin and Mae in her postal worker outfit. Mae is one of the many kids in the neighborhood that loves to see the mailman.
That's because Martin often gives kids lollipops. And it's not just the children who get treats – he gives snack to cats and dogs he encounters, too.
Aside from the packages he delivers and the bonus treats he gives, Martin provides the neighborhood with something more meaningful: kindness.
Joyce Hardin told Brett her mother's house is on Floyd's route. She said Martin always walks her mother's newspapers up to her porch. "Thank you for taking care of mama after daddy passed," she told Martin on his last delivery day.
Some neighbors decorated their mailboxes with flowers, balloons and signs, and the celebration continued when his final day of work ended.
More than 300 neighbors attended a block party honoring Martin. Several stood up and said kind words to honor the mailman. Then, Martin stood up to thank the neighborhood.
"Thank you for caring about me. We've gone through good times and bad times together," she." He said even though he lost his parents and many of his friends, he knows he still has friends in that Marietta neighborhood.
"You're all here," he said. "You were there when I needed you, even if you didn't know it," he said.
Martin doesn't have any children of his own, but he knows that even in his retirement, he can return to this neighborhood see the hundreds of kids and friends who love him.
"I love you guys. I say that, I mean it," he said. "And that's what the world needs more of now - is love and caring and compassion and taking care of one another."