"we understood the privilege and the opportunity we had"
A Harvard University student revealed that his father died without being able to see his dream.
Mohammed Jafor is one of the many people who have died after contracting Coronavirus. He was born in Bangladesh but was a taxi driver in New York.
He died on April 1, 2020, at the age of 56. Mohammed leaves behind three children.
His son Mahtab said: “He worked all his life and gave away so much. He didn’t have any type of job that was incredibly profitable or anything. He worked at McDonald’s. He was a deliveryman. He was a cab driver.”
Mohammed worked to get his children the best education possible and was almost there in fulfilling his dream.
He began each day by dropping his daughter Sabeeha at the prestigious Trinity School. He would then work before going back to pick her up.
There was already evidence of success from his hard work. Mahtab is a double major in economics and history at Harvard University.
According to Mahtab, his father made sacrifices to make sure his family in New York and in Bangladesh had everything they needed.
Mohammed arrived in New York in 1991 and lived in an overcrowded apartment with other immigrants in Queens.
He would send some of his earnings back home to support his parents.
Mohammed went back to Bangladesh to marry Mahmuda Khatun and have their first child, Mahbub before returning to New York.
In 2000, Mahtab was born at Elmhurst Hospital, now known as ground zero of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mahtab said: “He wanted to make sure that we understood the privilege and the opportunity we had of being in America and how thankful we should be for that.”
His children started public school in the Bronx, but Mohammed heard about a non-profit recruitment which helped lower-income children of colour from New York City to attend top private schools.
“He wanted to make sure we used all of the opportunities and resources that were at our disposal.”
“And part of that was having a very good education.”
Mahtab started Trinity School in the 7th grade.
However, in 2016, their mother passed away from cancer.
But the following year, Mahtab was accepted at Harvard and Sabeeha started at Trinity.
In March 2020, Harvard shut down and Mahtab returned home.
Mohammed was already self-quarantining, only leaving the apartment once to make sure that his taxi job was secure.
He had a mild fever for a few days but then started suffering from severe shortness of breath. Mohammed was taken to Montefiore Medical Centre where he was put on a ventilator for a week.
Mohammed showed signs of improvement, however, he sadly died.
Mahtab’s friends heard the news and rallied around the family. Will Cramer helped set up a GoFundMe page and donations came in, big and small.
Mahtab said “they understood that we would be in a very financially difficult situation” with the prospect of looking after a second grader without parents.
Within days, supporters raised $250,000. The amount currently stands at $359,000.
Although they do not have their parents, they are not alone because the hard work their father did driving through the streets of New York in his yellow cab provided opportunities that will sustain them for years to come.
Mahtab added: “He never really got to see the fruits of his hard work.
“The fact that me and my brother were almost at the point where we’re doing our own careers, having these independent paths were paved by my father.”