New Jersey media sources reported that Stan McNeil, who drove bus for a company serving Rutgers University, was fired after he prayed with a wheelchair-bound student on his bus in early November. McNeil, a retired Newark fireman, had been driving a bus around the Rutgers campus since 2011, and was well-known and loved by students for his inspirational and faith-filled speeches from behind the wheel.
But in a nearly nine-minute YouTube video McNeil explained how he was terminated by First Transit, the bus company that contracts with Rutgers, after he placed his hand on a woman in a wheelchair who was riding his bus, and prayed for her to be healed. “I prayed for the lady. I put my hand on her and I prayed,” McNeil, who is a Christian, said in the video posted shortly after his dismissal. “They said, 'We don’t need your services anymore.' They said, 'We don’t do that here.'”
A spokesperson for the bus company claimed that McNeil was not fired, but was warned that he had violated one of the company's safety protocols, after which he chose to leave. The company would not specify what the violation was. “This case is about safety, which is a core value of First Transit,” said the First Transit spokesperson in a statement. “All of our vehicle operators are instructed, ‘If it can’t be done safely, don’t do it.' Unfortunately, a full internal review revealed that Mr. McNeil had failed to follow a critical safety protocol that was cause for immediate termination. When advised of his violation, Mr. McNeil chose to resign.”
McNeil, however, told NJ.com, a New Jersey news source, that a bus company official told him that a video recorded on the bus showed that he had not used the required number of straps to secure the disabled student’s wheelchair. Despite the claims of First Transit officials, McNeil insisted that he was pressured to resign because of the prayer for the student, adding that he had been warned previously about his religious expression while on duty.
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