Detroit bus driver dies of coronavirus days after he slammed woman for not covering her mouth while coughing
DETROIT, MICHIGAN: A bus driver from Detroit has died of coronavirus days after he expressed his anger about a woman passenger who refused to cover her mouth while coughing. Jason Hargrove passed away on Wednesday, April 1, officials said Thursday.
The 50-year-old fell ill a few days after he posted a passionate video on Facebook on March 21 complaining about a woman who he said had repeatedly coughed while on his bus. Though the woman was not in the video, Hargrove alleged that she refused to cover her mouth while coughing.
In his live video on social media, he said drivers are “public workers doing our job, trying to make an honest living, take care of our families.”
“For you to get on the bus and cough several times without covering up your mouth and you know (we're) in the middle of a pandemic... That lets me know that some folks don't care," Hargrove said. "[They] utterly don't give a f**k,” the bus driver said.
In the clip, which was full of expletives, Hargrove stated, “Excuse my language, but that's how I feel right about now. For a grown a** person. In her 50s or early 60s to stand on the f*****g bus and cough, four or five times, without covering up your mouth and you know we in the midst of a motherf******g crisis with this coronavirus, I am p****d the f**k off.'”
He also mentioned: “I ain't blaming nobody but the woman that did that sh**t, I ain't putting the fault on nobody else. For us to get through this man y'all need to take this sh*t seriously. There are folks dying from this.”
“I’m trying to be the professional, they want me to be and I kept my mouth closed, but it’s at some point in time where you got to draw the line and say enough is enough. I feel violated; I feel violated for the folks that were on the bus when this happened. There were about eight or nine people on the bus that stood there as she coughed and never covered up her mouth,” Hargrove added.
Now, nearly two weeks after Hargrove went live on social media, he has died of COVID-19. The Amalgamated Transit Union confirmed his death in a tweet. However, it is not clear how he got coronavirus.
Expressing his concern about the current situation, the city's mayor, Mike Duggan, said at a press conference that the bus driver's death "should touch everybody in the city of Detroit, should touch everybody in the country.” He added that Hargrove "knew the risks, was vocal about the risks, he went to work anyway."
Urging people to watch Hargrove’s Facebook video, Duggan said: “Some of his languages are graphic, but I don't know how you can watch it and not tear up. He knew his life was being put in jeopardy — even though he was going to work for the citizens of Detroit every day — by somebody who just didn't care, who didn't take this seriously,” adding, “And now he's gone."
During the conference, Duggan also stated that so far, eight Detroit Department of Transportation workers have been diagnosed with the COVID-19. Glenn Tolbert, who heads Hargrove's transit union local, told the Detroit Free Press that he has tested positive for the virus, as well.
However, not just Hargrove, many bus drivers in the city raised the concern about their health while working in the crisis. On March 17, days before Hargrove posted his video, drivers of Detroit went on strike, claiming the city's authorities were not doing enough to protect their lives. After that, they were supplied with gloves to protect themselves from the virus.
Tolbert added that following the walkout, the fleet was also cleaned and sanitized, but he fears whether that was enough. “We see more sick people than any doctor. We are the first responders before the first responders because we pick up the sick taking them to the hospitals,” Tolbert told CNN's, Anderson Cooper.