Kentville cab driver Earl Martin is finding it hard to smile.
He recently learned insurance will not cover damages caused by extensive flooding in his basement and furnace room and has received this news during an ongoing health crisis, which has forced him to take time off work.
He’s a man known for his happiness and humour and hasn’t recently felt much of either – something his friend and frequent cab companion Jaimie Corbin is working to change.
“There aren’t a lot of people who give selflessly to others and ask for nothing in return, but Earl is one of them. He’s both humble and proud and would never ask for help, but the community loves him and wants him to know it,” says Corbin.
Corbin first met Martin when she hopped into his cab for a ride and the two became fast friends. She wants her friend to feel like smiling again, and has created an ongoing GoFundMe fundraiser and a fundraising event for Martin on May 4 at the Kings Arms Pub in Kentville.
Martin says his health concerns have only been compounded since learning he’ll be on the hook for paying to fix his basement despite believing he was covered.
He wakes up and sometimes just wants to forget it all and stay in bed.
“I feel so rotten. It’s just really discouraged me. This year, every time I turn around everything is going backwards for me,” he says.
Corbin says this is even more heartbreaking considering how selfless Martin is as a cab driver and outside his work. He’s arrived at 3 a.m. to save Corbin and her friends from being in a bind, and always stays until he sees them safely inside their door.
“He’s the most top-notch person I’ve ever met. You get in his cab, and he knows you, knows your story,” says Corbin.
Martin says the fundraisers and people reaching out have shocked him despite having a large network through cab driving for nearly three decades.
He’s a proud man and struggled with accepting the help. But most of all, he just never realized he had impacted so many people.
“I simply did not know I had so many people around me who cared. I never expected this,” he says. “I always worked for everything I’ve got, and I have pride, but there comes a point when you’ve got to open up and let someone help you.”