- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Rutgers University bus driver who prayed over a disabled and wheelchair-bound girl after she was boarded was subsequently fired.

Stan McNeil, who has prayed similarly over riders during his two-year stint as a university bus driver, says he was pushed out of his job directly due to his prayer — though Rutgers’ officials refute that claim, National Review reported.

“They pulled me into the office and said, ‘You prayed for a student and you laid hands on her. We don’t do that here,’ ” Mr. McNeil said, in the National Review report. “They said it was grounds for termination.”

He also said his managers didn’t outright fire him — but would have, if he didn’t choose their offer to resign.

“[My bosses] said, ‘We saw you on tape with a young lady in a wheelchair, and you prayed for her and you laid hands on her,’” he said, National Review reported. “Then they said, ‘We don’t want to fire you because we don’t want that on your record. You’re a good guy, so can we put down that you resigned? It would look better.’ “

Mr. McNeil said he agreed to the arrangement.

But the bus company, First Transit of FirstGroup of America, said that’s not how it happened.

They said it was all about safety — and that Mr. McNeil failed to attach all four safety straps to the wheelchair the girl rode, in accordance with set standards, National Review reported.

“When advised of his violation, Mr. McNeil chose to resign,” said Stephanie Creech, the company’s communications director in the report.

Mr. McNeil admitted he only attached two of the straps, but that managers didn’t initially mention that when he was asked to resign.

“They said I was fired because I prayed over somebody,” he said, in National Review. “That was the only reason. … Later they changed it around and said it was the straps.”

Mr. McNeil was a well-liked driver who frequently prayed for those who rode his bus. And some actually came back the day after the prayer and advised Mr. McNeil that the ailment he prayed about had disappeared, he said, in the media outlet.

“I spoke on the bus as I would drive,” he said, National Review reported. “People said they were uplifted and that it was a joy to ride my bus.”

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