(CNN) — New York cab driver Ahmed Sharif cannot bring himself to talk about the young man who allegedly cut his throat and nearly killed him last week, a taxi union representative said Sunday.
“Ahmed is a strong man, but mentally he has limits,” said Bhairavi Desai of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. “The trauma he’s experienced will last for a long time.”
Desai spent time this weekend with Sharif. She said his most pressing worry is how he’ll provide for his wife and four children — including a 10-month-old –without a job. Sharif is receiving 2/3 of his salary, about $30,000 a year, in workers’ compensation. Union members do not get health insurance or disability payments, Desai said.
“My guess is that he’ll be unable to work for at least four months,” Desai said. “He can’t even pick up his baby because of the wounds to his arms. He can’t turn his neck.”
There’s been so little money raised over the past few days for Sharif that it would “barely cover baby formula,” said Desai who, along with Sharif, held a widely publicized press conference Friday announcing the union was creating a fund for the family. The union’s website indicates how to mail a donation or give online.
“We’re pretty shocked that it’s been such a low amount,” Desai said.
At the press conference, stitches running along the deep gash in his neck, Sharif implored taxi drivers to look out for each other. A Bangladeshi who emigrated to the United States 25 years ago, Sharif told reporters, “I feel like I belong here, [like] I was born here.”
His household’s sole breadwinner, Sharif, his wife and children, ages 10 months, 5, 9 and 11, live in a small apartment, Desai said.
I’m surprised that NYC residents haven’t stepped up. I’d love to see the blogosphere help.