CYCLE OF RAGE: Delivery Cyclist Who Had Been Left for Dead Needs Your Help
This city can break your heart. Can it mend it, too? Let’s see.
Residents of the Kensington section of Brooklyn had been looking for Imran Hossain, an undocumented 19-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant, since he disappeared after leaving his job at a Papa John’s pizzeria on Jan. 20.
Fliers went up, and the local Council Member, Shahana Hanif, tweeted out information about Hossain:
“He’s fluent in Bangla & speaks some English. He’s 5’5 & was last seen wearing jeans, a jacket, yellow shoes,” read Hanif’s tweet. She later told me she spent every day since his disappearance looking for Hossain with her neighbors.
I never saw the tweet, or else the mention of the yellow shoes would have caught my eye. I had seen one yellow shoe, a workboot, sitting on the side of 18th Street in Windsor Terrace a few days earlier. It was next to a GrubHub bag and assorted debris from a moped.
I saw the detritus when I was working on this story about an unidentified delivery worker who had been hit and nearly killed by a reckless hit-and-run driver just after midnight on Jan. 21. At the time, police had not given us Hossain’s name or any other details, except to say that he had been taken to Methodist Hospital in critical condition.
Meanwhile, his terrified friends and family started searching for him, not knowing that he was in the hospital in a coma. All they knew is that he had left his job at Papa John’s on Fourth Avenue. Many of his friends, including Hanif, did not know he was working the night shift as a deliveryman for GrubHub.
He never made it home from his last delivery on St. Johns Place. But on Thursday of this week, Hossain regained consciousness at Methodist and told hospital workers who he was, and the mystery began to unravel.
According to the family, Hossain has been in and out of consciousness since awakening. His doctors say he will be disabled for at least six months to a year, with an uncertain prognosis. A GoFundMe page has been set up for the injured delivery worker, one of scores that are injured or killed every year. Last year, as Hossain and others kept New York fed and supplied, 10 delivery workers were killed in road crashes. Their plight finally led to City Council reforms of the exploitive app-based delivery industry, though many more changes are needed to prevent workers from being abused, and also to give them job security and work rules that don’t require them to travel at such breakneck speeds just to make a tip.
Members of Desis Rising Up and Moving, a South-Asian support group, said Hossain has no health insurance and had arrived in New York in late 2021 after an arduous six-month journey here. He began working to send money to his family in rural Bangladesh, but was injured within just a few weeks of his arrival in the Land of Opportunity.
“Frontline workers like Imran are not disposable!” the group said in a statement. “He and millions of workers deserve respect, dignity and support when systems that profit from their labor have failed them. We have seen how the most vulnerable in our communities are unable to access the types of care that would fully support them in their recovery.”
The NYPD said it has not caught the driver who seriously injured Hossain, but said the investigation is ongoing.
Gersh Kuntzman is the editor of Streetsblog. He occasionally writes the Cycle of Rage column, which is archived here.