What to Know
- Kenny Chow, a yellow cab driver who had been missing since May 11, has been found dead, according to the New York Taxi Workers Alliance
- Chow's body was found in the East River, the NYTWA said
- Chow owed $700,000 on the loan for his medallion, and his wife was recently diagnosed with cancer, his brother said
A yellow cab driver who had been missing since May 11 committed suicide amid “increasing desperation” over his finances and his wife’s illness, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance said.
A body found in the East River has been identified as missing driver Kenny Chow, NYTWA said in a release.
Chow is the fifth yellow cab driver to have committed suicide in recent months, according to its Executive Director Bhairavi Desai.
“We are sending strength and love to Kenny Chow’s family and friends as they face the heartbreak of his death,” she said in a statement.
The cabbie owed $700,000 on the loan for his medallion and often worked 14-hour shifts, his brother told NBC New York earlier this week. His wife also recently learned she had stage four colon cancer, according to his brother.
“Make no mistake: the crisis that took Kenny’s life and the lives of four other drives pushed to suicide in recent months was entirely preventable,” Desai said. “City Hall allowed Uber and Lyft to expand unchecked, devastating the lives and livelihoods of New York City’s professional drivers.”
“There are real human consequences to a business model predicated on destroying labor standards and treating workers as expendable,” she added.
In March, a yellow cab driver named Nicanor Ochisor took his own life as the value of his taxi medallion plummeted and financial strains mounted, the New York Times reported.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told the paper he was mulling the possibility of a cap on for-hire vehicles.
“The mayor has been clear about the need to re-evaluate our options in the face of explosive growth we’re seeing in the industry,” the mayor’s spokesman added.
NYTWA plans to hold a vigil for Chow at 86th Street and East End Avenue in Manhattan on Sunday at 1 p.m., according to its release.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 provides people in distress, or those around them, with 24-hour support. The Crisis Text Line allows people to text 741-741 to connect with crisis counselors.