BART Worker Jim Stanek Fired for Giving Paid, Unused Tickets to Disadvantaged High School Student
A longtime Bay Area Rapid Transit station agent was terminated from his $95,000/year job for giving paid, unused tickets to a needy teen so he could commute from Oakley to a charter school in San Francisco.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Jim Stanek, who worked for BART for seven years, was fired for giving $300 worth of paid, unused tickets to the 16-year-old.
To add insult to injury, Stanek was fired on his 66th birthday.
The unnamed teen, whose father passed away last year, was troubled and doing poorly at a public school in Hercules, so his grandparents sent him Flex Academy, a San Francisco charter school, where he is doing much better now.
The problem is, the boy’s grandparents had trouble affording the $220 monthly round-trip BART fare from the Pittsburg/Bay Point station to the Powell Street station in downtown San Francisco. A BART program provides a 50% discount to students from Flex Academy (and other participating schools), but school officials couldn’t say whether or not the boy knew about the deal.
Stanek, who is friends with the boy’s grandfather, stepped in to help.
“I feel devastated,” Stanek told the Chronicle. “Did I expect it? Yes. It’s kind of the way things go with BART. I don’t know if public opinion matters to them– it doesn’t, I guess.”
Stanek said he would appeal his termination through his union.
Royce Connor, head of Flex Academy, told the Chronicle that “it’s great to hear that someone on BART was looking at this student, who’s a great kid, and gave him a break he really, really has earned in his life.”