On Feb. 3, 2019, Waheedullah Etimad, a father of seven, was killed by a drunk driver in San Francisco while he worked as an Uber driver.
He was the sole financial provider for the family. Due to Uber’s classification of workers as contractors, not employees, they are not covered by worker’s compensation, which provides weekly financial support and covers funeral expenses.
The members of the Etimad family left behind were without recourse.
However, Pleasanton’s Muslim Community Center (MCC) helped facilitate a massive fundraising effort through GoFundMe. As of press time, the total raised for the family was $327,411. After more than a year of heartache and hardship, the family was able to purchase a home in Mountain House. They are now in transition from their two-bedroom apartment to start their new life.
“Now more than ever, it is crucial to participate in community life, because it is community support and involvement that provides us with opportunities to help community members in need of help,” said Spojmie Nasiri, a Pleasanton lawyer assisting the family. “(MCC) and its members, Munir Safi and Aminah Abdullah, have been instrumental in coordinating for the needs of the Etimad family. And I have assisted this family since I met them.”
Only a few years prior, Etimad had moved his family to the U.S. from Afghanistan, where he served as a translator with the U.S. Army. At the time of his passing, he was pursuing a degree at Diablo Valley College. His wife, who declined to state her name, recalled her late husband’s steadfast journey to provide a better life for his family.
“My husband loved the U.S. and supported the U.S. Army during a very dangerous time in Afghanistan,” Etimad’s wife said. “He believed his family would be safe (here), and he wanted to raise his children in the U.S., where they would be free from danger and have the opportunity to get an education and give back to society. My husband truly believed in the American dream … Community involvement was something he truly believed in, and seeing how much the community has done for me and my family during this difficult time, I share the sentiment of my husband that, now more than ever, our hopes and dreams are for my children to get an education in the U.S. and be able to give back to the community that has given us so much more than we ever dreamed of.”
As their community gathered around them, the Etimad family reflected on what that support would have meant to their patriarch. The family and their friends want those who donated or otherwise helped to know how priceless and meaningful their support has been.
“The message is clear that when a community comes together, anything is possible, and this family is very blessed to have such tremendous support and so many people caring about them,” said Nasiri.
Now, the children are looking forward to living up to the standard of hard work and steadfastness passed down by their father.
“My father was a loving, kind and hardworking man,” said one of the children. “He never complained and always taught my siblings and I to work hard and anything is possible. He supported all of (us), worked full time and attended school full time, despite being in the U.S. only a few years. My father was very hardworking in Afghanistan and even more hard working in the U.S., and he sacrificed so much for his children. My siblings and I will work hard to honor his legacy by doing good in school and creating a better and brighter future for my whole family and especially our mother.”
Even as they continue to grieve for their father, the children recognized the good that has flowed to them from those around them.
“We are blessed for all the support we have received and are forever grateful to each and every person who helped our family in so many ways,” said one of the children. “We will never forget the outpouring of support and love from everyone in the community … These people helped my family in ways I can never forget or repay.”
At this time, the MCC and others leading the efforts to the get the Etimad family established in their new home are asking for clothing donations and gently used furniture.
The children are: female, age 17, 12th grade, clothing size medium, shoe size 7.5; male, age 15, ninth grade, clothing size large, shoe size 9; female, age 13, eighth grade, clothing size medium, shoe size 8.5; male, age 10, fifth grade, clothing size 8/10, shoe size 2; male, age 9, third grade, clothing size 12/14, shoe size 5.5; male, age 6, second grade, clothing size 8, shoe size 13; and male, age 4, clothing size 4t, shoe size 10.
For more information on how to donate, contact the MCC at 925-485-1786 or the Law Office of Spojmie Nasiri, PC, at 925-520-5195.