New Yorkers live and traverse the city in close proximity to each other every day and rarely bat an eye at anything, often seeing something but saying nothing. That’s likely why 59-year-old cab driver Mehari Bokrezion sat dead in his cab for 18 hours before someone dialed 911.
Bokrezion, who came to the United States from Eritrea, parked his cab at a designated rest stop for cabbies on Thompson Street in SoHo around 12:30 p.m. last Tuesday and soon passed away, The New York Times reported.
Countless people, from commuters and pedestrians to Bokrezion’s fellow cab drivers, passed by without noticing, probably thinking he was just napping as cabbies often do in such rest spots. At 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, however, a passerby became concerned that Bokrezion hadn’t moved and alerted 911.
Around the same time, Bokrezion’s wife called Susan Maintenance Corp., her husband’s employer since 1991, to say he never came home. The company’s dispatcher, Franklin Lambert, told the Times he checked the cab’s GPS and found the vehicle had been in the same spot for nearly 24 hours.
Lambert told Bokrezion’s wife, who lived nearby and immediately went to the rest stop with her husband’s brother and found Bokrezion’s body.
EMS staff and police soon arrived and broke the window. Officials later determined that Bokrezion died of natural causes stemming from cardiovascular disease.
It’s a sad tale, but one that isn’t surprising in the often isolating world of New York City — nor is this the first time something like this has happened.
The Times reported that a man sat dead on a 1 train for up to five hours in 1999 until someone noticed.