Former celebrity chauffeur IDed as victim in brutal Uber driver beatdown
Once he chauffeured such celebrities as Robert De Niro, Mark Wahlberg and Samuel Jackson — but now Uber driver Mohamad Al-Gahaffi remains in critical condition at a Manhattan hospital, a month after he was viciously beaten by five rowdy riders who are still being sought by police.
Al-Gahaffi, 56, is in a coma clinging to life following the attack last month, when he was sucker-punched in the face after he asked a group of five passengers to stop drinking in his car during their trip from a Queens strip club to Manhattan.
“I wouldn’t wish this on anybody and the community wishes him well,” said one family friend, Omer Seman, 25.
Al-Gahaffi is a fixture of his local mosque in Manhattan, where he would occasionally lead prayer.
He chauffeured some of the biggest celebrities through the city after immigrating from Yemen in the early 1990s, according to Seman, driving De Niro, Jackson, Whalberg and other A-listers while working for BLS Limo service.
He then worked as a yellow cabbie before more recently starting to drive for Uber, Seman said.
The five suspects — three men and two women — are still at large.
The assault has rallied Al-Gahaffi’s fellow drivers and Yemeni Americans. The New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers and the Yemeni American Merchants Association on Sunday plan to announce a cash reward for anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest in the case.
“No one should ever fear for their life while working for their livelihood,” said Abraham Aiyash, executive director at YAMA, in a statement. “We are saddened by the attack on Mohamad and will do everything we can to ensure justice is served and the perpetrators are apprehended.”
Al-Gahaffi is “a tough guy who isn’t afraid of confrontation, he’s not scared.” Seman added. “If someone picked a fight he would stand up for himself.”
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