Najeh Masaeid came to the United States from Jordan to pursue what he said was the American Dream; but instead, the man, 63, met a horrific end as he was robbed and killed while delivering a pizza – all over less than $20.
The Birmingham, Alabama, man was found dead in the hallway of an apartment building on Sunday night, the victim of what police said appeared to be a homicide. Police believe someone called the Domino’s deliveryman to a vacant apartment as a set-up for a robbery, then killed him with a blow to the head using a blunt object.
Masaied’s car was still running when police arrived on the scene, and a pizza warming bag was laying on the ground nearby.
The owner of the Domino’s where Masaied worked said he probably had less than $20 on him when he was robbed.
The death sent shock waves through the Birmingham community, and led to an outpouring of condolences and offers of support for Masaeid’s family.
After the shooting the shaken employees at Domino’s returned to work, but said Masaeid’s death left a void.
“He was the nicest the person,” said Casey Leroy, Masaeid’s manager. “My whole staff is shaken. He was not a person who deserved this.”
Others remembered him as a dedicated and hard-working employee.
“I don’t understand why someone would even try,” said Glen Coggins, who worked at the location for more than 15 years. “He was the best closing driver I’ve ever seen. He would clean the whole store quicker than anyone I’ve ever seen.”
He even made an impression on employees at neighboring stores.
“I work for the Supercuts beside his job,” wrote Sarah Bearden on an online memorial. “I been there 10 years and he has always since the Supercuts been there watched us girls to our cars, brought us pizza that was for any reason not what was order or anything.”
Masaeid lived with his wife in a modest apartment, and after discovering that he had a 43-year-old daughter in his native Jordan he flew her and his 8-year-old granddaughter to Alabama to live with them.
Family members said Najeh Masaeid worked 80 hours a week to support his family. Because he worked so often, Masaeid often made videos for his grandchildren to send messages.
Masaeid also had a strong work ethic, and did not want to ask anyone for help.
“He never once went to the government for money, although is legal status entitled him for it,” said his daughter, Jordan Hosey. “He never believed in this. He was just earning his money. That was it. He said he didn’t need anything fancy. He was happy with what God gave him.”
Family members said they have planned a funeral for Najeh Masaeid on Christmas. Because Najeh did not have life insurance, his daughter set up an online fundraiser to care for her mother, who is sick and unable to work. The campaign raised more than $50,000 in just its first few hours.