Bus driver who called out coughing passenger dies of coronavirus

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·3-min read

A driver who complained online after a passenger coughed on his bus has died from coronavirus.

Jason Hargrove, from Detroit in the US state of Michigan, shared a video of himself to Facebook on March 21, calling out an individual who coughed “several times” and didn’t cover their mouth.

“This coronavirus s*** is real, and we are out here as public workers, doing our job, trying to make an honest living to take care of our families,” the bus driver said.

Jason Hargrove called out a female passenger who he said coughed four or five times without covering her mouth on his bus.
Jason Hargrove called out a middle-aged woman who he said coughed four or five times without covering her mouth. Source: Facebook

“But for you to get on the bus and stand on the bus and cough several times without covering your mouth and you know that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, that lets me know that some folks don’t care, utterly don’t give a f***, excuse my language, but that’s how I feel right about now.”

Mr Hargrove started to feel sick four days after encountering the passenger on his bus route and died a week later of COVID-19, Detroit’s bus drivers’ union confirmed in a post to Twitter.

The tweet said he had been a member of the union since 2016 and left behind his wife.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan confirmed on Thursday the bus driver’s death.

He pointed Americans to Mr Hargrove’s Facebook video and warned it did include strong language.

"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," Mr Duggan said, according US news outlet ABC News.

"Somebody who didn't take this seriously and now he's gone."

Days before his video, drivers in Detroit walked off the job in protest of authorities not helping protect their health in the midst of the pandemic.

The Detroit bus driver died days after calling out a coughing passenger on his bus. Pictured is a stock image of passengers on a bus.
Mr Hargrove died days after calling out a coughing passenger on his bus. Source: Getty Images

Measures including drivers having access to gloves and passengers boarding from the rear of the bus were introduced following the strike.

Problematic bus riders, like the one Mr Hargrove referenced who “don't take s*** for real while this s*** is still existing and still spreading”, could well have led to his death.

“I feel violated. I feel violated for the folks that was on the bus when this happened. To those who are watching, this — this is real. And y'all need to take this serious,” he continued in his video.

Glenn Tolbert, the leader at Mr Hargrove's former local transit union, has since revealed he too has tested positive for COVID-19.

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