'Not Just A Phone Call Away Anymore': Remembering Andy Wong, MBTA Worker Who Died Of COVID-19

Download Audio

Andy Wong was an inspector at the MBTA, but never took himself too seriously. He was funny. He was kind.

But there's really only one thing you need to know about Wong, according to his friend and former coworker Aimee DaLuz.

"When Andy told you he was there for whenever you needed him, he meant that," she said. "Those were 2 a.m. phone calls."

Phone calls that won't happen anymore, because Wong died from COVID-19 in late March. He was 57.

Wong would talk to DaLuz early in the morning, about her young son who died soon after being born, or about coping with her mom's ailing health.

He'd give coworkers rides to lunch when the weather was bad. But Wong was also there for MBTA passengers back when he drove buses, said Theresa Marks.

Andy Wong (right) with friend and former MBTA coworker Aimee DaLuz. (Courtesy of Aimee DaLuz)
Andy Wong (right) with friend and former MBTA coworker Aimee DaLuz. (Courtesy of Aimee DaLuz)

"I was homeless for a few years and a few times he'd come and made sure I had something to eat," she remembered. "He came and checked on me when he was getting off of work."

Marks met Wong before she was homeless, when she rode the T's Silver Line bus he drove after her late shifts at a restaurant ended. On those rides, she learned Wong took care of his mom until she passed away a few years ago. Marks lost her mother, and she remembers grieving with Wong on those early morning phone calls.

"We would sit and talk for hours to help him get through it," Marks said.  "He was a really good son."

And he was a really good friend.

Former coworker DaLuz said she's going to miss getting pleasant phone calls — the last one she got was for her birthday, just a couple of weeks before Wong died.

"That man went out of his way to make sure that I was OK for my birthday and that I was happy," DaLuz said. "It breaks my heart to know that he's not just a phone call away anymore."

She said Wong was like her brother and she's devastated. But she's trying to find comfort in remembering how funny he was.

"The things that Andy would say were just funny, oh my goodness," DaLuz remembered, laughing. "That was his thing."

Eddie Brown, who works at the MBTA, said Wong made him laugh until he cried — from when they first met in 2005, up until a few days before he died. On March 29, Wong was found dead in his Quincy home.

"You can tell by Andy not being here, there's an issue. You can tell it's not the same without him."

Eddie Brown, Who Worked With Wong At The MBTA

"Andy loved to crack jokes and I love to laugh," Brown said.

He said working for the T without Andy is hard, and less bright. And he's not the only one who feels that way.

"You can tell by Andy not being here, there's an issue," Brown said. "You can tell it's not the same without him."

Wong's friends want to memorialize him as soon as it's safe to do so, said longtime friend DaLuz.

"When all of this settles down, we are going to do something for him," she said. "To celebrate him, because he deserves that."

DaLuz said Wong was there for his friends and his passengers. She just wishes they could be there for him.

This segment aired on May 4, 2020.


Headshot of Quincy Walters

Quincy Walters Producer, WBUR Podcasts
Quincy Walters was a producer for WBUR Podcasts.



More from WBUR

Listen Live