On March 21, Detroit bus driver Jason Hargrove went live on Facebook to vent about an incident that had just occurred on his bus. A woman, who he estimated to be in her "late 50s, early 60s," coughed four or five times on his crowded vehicle without covering her mouth — in the middle of the global coronavirus .
"This coronavirus sh** is for real and we out here as public workers, trying to make an honest living to take care of our families," he said. "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 in the middle of a pandemic, that lets me know that some folks don't care, utterly don't give a f***."
Since the beginning of the outbreak, experts have cautioned that the virus is spread through that are expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes or even talks. And Hargrove estimated that there were about eight or nine other passengers in the woman's vicinity when she openly coughed, potentially exposing others to the virus.
"I feel violated," he said. "I feel violated for the folks that was on the bus when this happened."
The video, which has now been shared nearly 7,000 times, is profanity-laced and Hargrove apologizes for that. He says he is just too angry to keep it all bottled up inside anymore. He also insists that his anger isn't directed at anyone but the woman whose careless actions put others' lives at risk.
"I'm out here, we out here. We moving the city around, back and forth, trying to do our jobs and be professional about what we do," Hargrove says. "I ain't blaming nobody. Nobody. Not the city. Not the mayor. Not the department. Not the state of Michigan. Not the government. Nobody! Not the president. I blame that woman who stood on this f***ing bus and coughed. It's her fault. It's people like her, who don't take sh** for real, why this sh** is still existing and it's still spreading."
On Thursday, Glenn Tolbert, the president of Hargrove's local transit union — Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26 — revealed to the The Detroit News that Hargrove began feeling symptoms four days after the incident. And in a tragic turn of events, he has now passed away.
Now, his devastated friends and coworkers are taking to social media with tributes and prayers for his wife and children.
"My coworker passed away this evening. A frontliner, a driver, a brother, our prayers to his wife and family and through out our Department,"Sakia Danielle Nixon, a fellow public transportation employee, wrote on Facebook. "Jason Djinfiniti Hargrove you are loved and you are missed. #DDOT #5289"
The Detroit Department of Transportation has now instituted several safety measures to protect its public transit staff, like having all passengers board and exit buses through the vehicle's rear doors rather than the ones nearest the driver. Still, Tolbert told The Detroit News that DDOT drivers are scared.
"They're up in arms," he said. "It's the fear of the unknown."
On Thursday afternoon, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan held a news conference in which he honored Hargrove and lamented the fact that the lives of the city's drivers were being put at risk.
"If you haven't seen Jason Hargrove's post on Facebook, everybody in Detroit and everybody in America should watch it. He was infected before we closed the front doors," he said. "Some of his language is graphic, but I don't know how you can watch it and not tear up. He knew his life was being put in jeopardy. ... Now he's gone."
Shortly before his death, Hargrove changed his Facebook photo to an image of himself wearing a face mask, emblazoned with the hashtags #coronavirus, #ICannotStayHome and #ImOnTheRoad4U.