Coronavirus: Bus driver dies after video criticizing passenger for coughing
A Detroit bus driver has died of coronavirus, just days after posting a video criticizing a female passenger for coughing without covering her mouth.
His death highlights the risks taken by public sector workers, who come into contact with infected people through their jobs as many others are isolating themselves to slow the spread of the pandemic.
“We’re out here as public workers, doing our job, trying to make an honest living to take care of our families,” he said on the Facebook post on March 21. “But for you to get on the bus, and stand on the bus, and cough several times without covering up your mouth, and you know that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, that lets me know that some folks don’t care.
“For us to get through this and get over this, y'all need to take this seriously,” he said in a recording that included profane language. “There's folks dying out here.”
Ten days after recording the video outside his bus, Hargrove, a 50-year-old father of six, died from complications of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to local media reports.
Mr. Hargrove’s video has since been viewed more than half a million times, and featured on many prime-time US news shows, where he has become the face of millions of low-wage workers who put themselves at risk to provide essential services during the lockdown.
Glenn Tolbert, president of the bus drivers' union, said the government was not doing enough to protect his members.
“We see more sick people than any doctor,” Tolbert told CNN. "We are the first responders before the first responders, because we pick up the sick taking them to the hospitals.”
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he had watched Hargrove's video and urged everyone in America to see it, according to local media reports.
“I don't know how you can watch it and not tear up,” the mayor said. “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, somebody who didn't take this seriously. And now he's gone.”