Thousands of supporters are rallying behind a Rutgers University bus driver who claims he was fired for praying over a student, despite the fact that the bus company has a different story.
Pastor Stanley McNeil was a bus driver for Rutgers University whose religious-based enthusiasm has been seen by thousands on YouTube.
“He’s very uplifting,” said Rutgers student Lee Matalon. “Very motivating and he made my day better.”
McNeil says his faith as well as his job driving the bus between Rutgers campuses for the past two years filled a void in his soul.
Things changed however during a recent incident on the bus. McNeil says he tried to heal a wheelchair-bound student by praying with his hand on her head. It’s that action that McNeil claims led to his firing.
“I was told that they didn’t accept the fact that I laid hands and prayed over one of the students,” McNeil said in a YouTube video. “They said they didn’t want to put on their record that they fired me so they said that they would put on there that I resigned. “
Officials with First Transit, the company which owns the bus, have a different story. They claim his firing had nothing to do with him praying, but instead the fact that he did not strap the student down properly.
“This case is about safety which is a core value of First Transit,” said a spokeswoman. “First Transit’s safety guidelines state that failure to properly secure wheelchairs or other mobility devices is identified as a safety offense appropriate for discharge.”
While McNeil and the company have conflicting stories regarding what led to his firing, the now former bus driver has gained support from students as well as others who heard about his story. A petition on Change.org calling for McNeil to get his job back currently has over 4,000 signatures and counting.
While McNeil believes his fate is currently in “God’s will,” he also says he would love to be back in the driver’s seat.
“As I would see my student’s every day it was a feeling of love,” he said while in tears. “It was like I wanted to see them more.”