NEW BRUNSWICK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Rutgers University students are rallying around a popular bus driver who claims he was fired after praying for God to heal a wheelchair-bound passenger.
Driver Stan McNeil, a Christian who is known for doling out encouragement and inspiration, claims he was forced to resign recently because he put his hands on a disabled student and prayed for her.
He defended his actions in a nearly nine-minute video posted to YouTube earlier this week.
“I prayed for the lady, I put my hand on her and I prayed,” McNeil said. “They said we don’t need your services anymore. They said we don’t do that here.”
“I prayed for her and I’ll pray for the next one, too,” he added. “I don’t regret none of it. This is who I am. I ain’t going to back down from who I am…I’m all about God, brother. I ain’t compromising one bit.”
The First Transit bus company said it respects McNeil’s faith and that he was given the option to resign because of an unspecified safety violation.
“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,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
Students said the Livingston Campus Express just isn’t the same without McNeil and many are taking to social media sites to get their favorite bus driver back behind the wheel.
“He actually cares about everyone,” one student told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams.
“I definitely don’t want Stan to leave,” another student said.
A petition posted on Change.org calling for the university to “Bring Back Stan the LX Driver” had more than 4,200 signatures by Wednesday morning.
“Stan brought life and encouragement to students of all backgrounds, religions, and cultures,” Danielle Doss wrote on Change.org. “His words were appreciated by all and they really helped the atmosphere on campus. He brought a smile to all!”
“Stan is part and parcel of Rutgers! Just like the bus system is, just like the Scarlet Knight (our mascot), like our alma mater, like Grease Trucks, like Neptune Night, like the things we view as inherently ‘Rutgers.’ For him to leave because of internal pressures from Rutgers is like a body rejecting its own self. Please bring him back. Rutgers isn’t the same without him,” Jim Park wrote.
McNeil said he had no intentions of leaving his job and misses the students.
“I care for my students, there’s no way I can spend two years with students and not have any feelings,” McNeil said. “I want you to know that you mean so much to me. You’re like an extended family to me.”
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