Coworkers and Friends Offer Aid to Family of Boy Who Died in High-Rise Fall
MORRIS HEIGHTS — The family of a 9-year-old boy who fell to his death out of a Bronx high-rise late last month is getting help covering funeral costs from kind-hearted New Yorkers from The Bronx to Greenwich Village.
Sidy Fofana, a fourth grader at Harlem Success Academy, accidentally fell of the roof of his family's apartment building at 20 Richman Plaza on April 23 after he went to his uncle's apartment to get money to buy takeout Chinese food.
The tragedy led to an outpouring of support.
Sue Livingston, of Greenwich Village, knows Sidy's father, Gaoussouf Fofana, who works as a deliveryman at a Gristedes supermarket on University Place and Ninth Street.
She immediately put up a flier in her building asking friends and neighbors to contribute money to help the "sweetest delivery man" defer the costs of the funeral, which took place late last month.
"He is just the kindest, gentlest, sweetest man, always has a smile and is so warm to everyone and especially to our dog," said Livingston, who teaches deaf students at LaGuardia Community College.
Livingston said she started a collection as soon as she heard the "horrific" news about Gaoussaouf's son.
"I said, 'We have to do something to help and show that we care and he is in our hearts and minds,'" she said.
In just two days, her fellow residents donated more than $600.
"Many were shocked and devastated, and have children or grandchildren of the same age," Livingston added.
Gaoussouf's coworkers at Gristedes also started collecting money for the family and have so far raised about $400.
And the family should be getting additional assistance from Gristedes owner and former New York City mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis.
"It's a very sad day when a tragedy like this takes place," Catsimatidis said when he was told of the accident in an email Tuesday from DNAinfo New York.
"No parent should ever have to bury their own child," the billionaire businessman added. "The Fofana family is in our thoughts and prayers. We are reaching out to the family and the funeral home to see what assistance we can offer."
Gristedes headquarters was unaware of Sidy's death until told by a reporter, and a company spokesman, Rob Ryan, said they would have taken action already had they known sooner. The firm has roughly 2,000 employees in New York City.
Gaoussouf would occasionally bring his son to work with him, his co-workers said. A female colleague described his son, who hoped to be a dentist, as a "smart young man."
"It hurt all of us, because we knew his son," she said.
Sidy's funeral took place on April 25, said his mother Sanata Diakite.
She said she is grateful to hear of the help her family is receiving to cover the costs of the service, and added that her neighbors and children's schools have been supportive as well.
"We thank everybody for all the things that they are doing for us," she said.