Detroit bus driver who complained about a passenger coughing has died

(DETROIT) — A bus driver in Detroit, who had complained about a passenger coughing without covering her mouth and feared people were not taking the novel coronavirus pandemic seriously, has died after contracting the virus, officials said.

Jason Hargrove, an employee of the Detroit Department of Transportation, recorded a Facebook message on March 21 criticizing a woman who he said got on his bus and coughed multiple times without covering her mouth.

“We out here as public workers, doing our jobs, trying to make an honest living to take care of our families, but for you to get on the bus and stand on the bus and cough several times without covering up your mouth … that lets me know that some folks don’t care. Utterly don’t give a f—, excuse my language,” Hargrove said in the 8-minute video.

He said that he felt violated not only for himself, but for the other few passengers who were on the bus.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said on Thursday that Hargrove had died.

He encouraged Americans to watch Hargrove’s Facebook video, cautioning that it includes multiple expletives.

“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, but somebody just didn’t care,” Duggan said in a press conference. “Somebody who didn’t take this seriously and now he’s gone.”

The Amalgamated Transit Union commemorated Hargrove in a statement. The union said he had been a member since 2016 and left behind a wife.

Glenn Tolbert, the president of the union for Detroit Department of Transportation, called on city leaders to better protect bus drivers. Tolbert told ABC Detroit affiliate WXYZ that out of the 530 drivers in the department, 100 were in quarantine and seven drivers had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Mayor Duggan said that when he heard bus drivers went on strike on March 17 because they felt unsafe, he implemented new measures, including only allowing people to get on from the back doors and no longer collecting bus fares. The strike lasted just one day.

In Hargrove’s message, he urged people to keep safe and take the pandemic seriously.

More than 6,000 people in the U.S. have died after contracting the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 245,000 people are infected in the U.S. and more than a million across the globe.

“Y’all be safe. If you ain’t got to go out, don’t go out. If you go, cover up your face, put some gloves on your hands. Please,” Hargrove said in the video.

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