A lot has changed to Anwar Sajad's family after the Hamilton taxi driver was brutally attacked last July.

He has undergone numerous surgeries and began physiotherapy. His daughter has started school in the U.S. to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. His wife has quit her job to take care of him full time.

But what hasn't changed is the flashback of the attack that left him with a dislocated shoulder, a broken pelvis and a broken leg, still vivid nine months after that botched trip.

“When I talked to him, he said the flashback continues and it makes him panic,” Asif Abbas, a family friend and a former cab driver, told CBC Hamilton on Monday.

On July 16, 2013, Sajad picked up three passengers on the corner of Upper Paradise and Mohawk roads for a trip to a townhouse complex near Limeridge Road. At the end of the trip, one of the passengers went into a house to get his debit card. Sajad followed him toward the house and was attacked, police say.

A 19-year-old male has been charged with assault.

'We are all petrified'

Sajad has since undergone several surgeries on his shoulder, but it still bothers him, Abbas said.

“It cannot be completely fixed,” Abbas said. “He has to live like that.”

The city's cabbies are still reeling from Sajad's attack, Abbas added.

“It's always on their mind that something can happen.”

Abbas, who no longer works as a taxi driver, said he had been thinking about quitting for a while before his friend's attack.

“Most of the customers I had from Hamilton, to be honest, I had no problems. But there are times during the weekends, we are all petrified,” he said. “And night shifts are always unpredictable.”

Financial toll

To take care of Sajad and accompany him to physiotherapy — four days a week — his wife Fehmida Shameem has quit her job. With the two breadwinners out of work, money has been tight for the family with five children.

Some of the expenses are covered by donations from the community, Shameem said. The rest comes from credit cards and loans from family members.


Asif Abbas, friend of the Sajad family, speaks to Hamilton taxi drivers about workplace safety conditions in 2013. (CBC)

Shameem said she would pay back the loans when she gets back to work, but she doesn't know when that would be.

“I'm just waiting for him to be OK, but I have no idea. The doctors are not giving me any good hope,” she said.

“We were having a perfect life, but this happened and changed everything up and down.”

What provides some consolation for the family is that their daughter, Zunaira Sajad, is attending medical school in the U.S. to become a doctor.

It was a difficult decision for Zunaira to make, Shameem said, having to leave home in the midst of chaos.

“But I cannot put her life on rest,” Shameem said.

With files from CBC's Julia Chapman