The bus driver who called out a woman coughing on his bus two weeks ago has died of COVID-19

On March 21, Detroit bus driver Jason Hargrove shared a video on social media describing how a woman on his bus had been coughing without covering her mouth. On March 25, he fell ill. On April 2—just under two weeks after he shared his video—it was announced that Hargrove has died from COVID-19.

Yes, it is horrible and heartbreaking. It's also vitally important for us to acknowledge stories like this.


First and foremost, this tragedy reminds us that essential workers like Hargrove are heroes in the battle against this pandemic. Many of our front line workers in the medical field rely on public transportation, as do other essential workers such as grocery store clerks and custodians. Right now, we are all relying on these folks to keep doing their jobs, even though they are quite literally risking their own health to do so. They should be commended. They should be compensated. And they should be protected as much as is humanly possible.

Hargrove's story also reminds us how crucial it is that we all adhere to the safety guidelines for slowing the spread of this disease. Only go out to the store if it's absolutely necessary. Behave as if you and everyone you see is already infected. We know this virus is highly contagious and far more deadly than the seasonal flu. We have to take it seriously.

"This coronavirus shit is for real," Hargrove said in his video, "and we are 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 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..."

The video contains profanity, so view at your own discretion. But it's worth watching and listening to what this man had to say. We do not know for sure how or when he was infected, but the timeline is on par with what we know about transmission. His job as a bus driver may literally have cost him his life because someone was thoughtless and cavelier about coughing.

"I try to be the professional that they want me to be," said Hargrove, "and I kept my mouth closed, but at some point in time we got to draw the line and say enough is enough. That shit was uncalled for. I feel violated. I feel violated for the folks that was on the bus when this happened. It was about a good 8 or 9 people on the bus and she stood there and coughed. Never covered up her mouth."

Unreal. It should be crystal clear to everyone by now that this virus is nothing to mess around with, and that there is a very good reason that the world has come to a screeching halt in order to stop it. Whether you feel ill or not, whether your area has had a surge in cases or not, whether you are part of the most at-risk populations or not, you need to get on board with what we're all being asked to do.

We owe that much to Mr. Hargrove, and to all of the other essential workers who are putting their own lives on the line to keep life running for the rest of us.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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