Two weeks after posting a video about a passenger coughing on his bus, driver Jason Hargrove died of COVID-19 complications
On March 21, a Detroit-based bus driver named Jason Hargrove posted a concerning video to Facebook. In the video, the 50-year-old public service worker described a woman on his bus who coughed without covering her mouth (like you’re supposed to even if you aren’t sick). In the video, Hargrove says, “This coronavirus shit is for real and we out here as public workers, doing our job trying to make an honest living to take care of our families. But for you to get on the bus… and cough several times without covering up your mouth and you know that we in the middle of a pandemic; that lets me know that some folks don’t care.”
On April 2, about two weeks after the incident, Hargrove passed away from COVID-19 complications. According to a tweet from Amalgamated Transit Union, he leaves behind his wife, Desha Johnson-Hargrove.
“There’s folks dying out here because of this shit. Listen, I’m mad right about now, because that shit was uncalled for and I’m trying to be the professional that they want me to be, and I kept my mouth closed,” Hargrove said in his video, addressing the fact that he did not confront the coughing passenger. According to Hargrove, there were at least eight or nine other passengers on the bus at the time.
The video has gone viral and can serve as a plea to others about the importance of taking precautions if they’re showing symptoms. People like Hargrove are putting themselves at risk to continue doing their jobs and it’s important that others are as safe as they can be when it comes to staying home if they’re symptomatic. Of course, it can’t be known whether or not Hargrove contracted the virus from that passenger in particular. Per the Guardian, the president of the local transit union stated that Hargrove started to feel symptoms “just a few days after he posted the video.”
On March 23, Hargrove posted an update to Facebook, in which he wrote, “If you don’t think this is real I’ve been self quarantine for 14 days due to exposure to the virus!! People stay home.” People have been flocking to Hargrove’s Facebook with condolences to his family.
In a press conference, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan stated, “Everybody in Detroit and everybody in America should watch [his video]. 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 didn’t take this seriously — and how he’s gone.”
On April 2, Hargrove’s wife posted an update to Facebook, sharing screenshots of the texts she was trying to send her husband. “All I wanted was a text back. This is so UNFAIR & I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!!,” she wrote.
The moral of this devastating story is to Stay. The eff. At home. Stay home if you’re feeling fine (unless it’s absolutely essential that you leave the house — and do so carefully), and definitely stay home if you’re experiencing any kind of symptoms. COVID-19 is proving to possibly be more contagious than initially thought with researchers believing it may even pass through breathing and talking, not just sneezes and coughs, and even if we do take proper precautions like washing our hands, there’s still a potential risk.
While the Hargrove family has not asked for donations or help with resources, Hargrove’s wife Desha owns an accessories website, where you can buy jewelry. If you feel like personally supporting Desha during this incredibly hard time, you could check out her store and purchase something.
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