BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Mike Taheri’s days are frequently booked with clients seeking a defense in courtrooms across Western New York.
But because of the coronavirus pandemic, his law office has been sidelined for the time being.
And that got him thinking.
“How can we bring some light to this terribly devastating virus,” he wondered.
Taheri, who specializes in DWI defense, has found another calling during these dark days.
“I felt the time is right for our firm to at least, when Governor Cuomo says come on back and open the door to your firm, we’re going to offer a 20 percent COVID-19 discount to any client that comes in,” Taheri said.
And before anyone jumps to conclusions that this is a lawyer just looking to drum up some business, Taheri says hold on.
“That’s a spiritual decision we made,” Taheri explained, who’s an active volunteer at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy in Buffalo. For past 12 years he has been an Associate Missionary and director of the educational programs on the St. Luke’s campus. In addition, he conducts a summer book club at his parish in Newfane.
“More importantly, that allows that client to either take that savings and use it for family needs, but also allows that client to pay it forward, and say with that 20 percent I can do something for somebody else.”
Taheri also sees this as an opportunity to not only honor healthcare workers on the frontlines of the crisis, but to go beyond.
“You see what the healthcare people are doing. They’re making the ultimate sacrifice not only for themselves and their family, but for these patients,” he says. “It is a devastating virus that’s taking a lot of lives.”
He says the idea to give back during these difficult times is more than a show of generosity. His deep-rooted religious beliefs, Taheri explained, helped guide him to this decision.
“After prayer, I asked God what can we do to make some sacrifice to help those in need,” Taheri added. “So, this is really the type of first step forward, and maybe it gets better over time. But we need to think about the sacrificial gift.”
Taheri says the COVID discount idea has also struck a chord with other professional associates, from mental health counselors to private investigators.
“It wasn’t a question of well, let me think about it,” Taheri said. “I think the people that are on the sidelines, whose businesses are non-essential, we want to help because the community is going to need some economic support. “
Taheri says it’s no coincidence that the idea to do something began to percolate with Easter just days away.
“In Christ’s suffering there is great joy. In darkness there’s light,” Taheri said. “And if we all do this. And we all cooperate and make the sacrifice, it’s going to make this community that much stronger.”