At the end of October, Stan McNeil prayed over a wheelchair-bound girl on the bus he drove for Rutgers University. Within a week, he was asked to resign.
His employers say that they requested McNeil’s resignation because he did not follow safety procedures while securing the girl’s wheelchair. McNeil, well known for his motivational speeches and prayers of healing, says he was forced out of his job because of his prayer.
“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,’” McNeil tells me. “They said it was grounds for termination.”
For just over two years, McNeil drove a bus route for students at Rutgers University. Beloved by the students he met, he would make motivational speeches from the driver’s seat and offer prayers of healing to those in pain.
“I spoke on the bus as I would drive,” McNeil says. “People said they were uplifted and that it was a joy to ride my bus.” He spoke mostly about having a good life, being inspired, and studying hard, he says. He also prayed over students who had physical injuries, and said that after his prayers many students were healed. “They would have ankle injuries, different types of injuries, and I would pray,” McNeil says. “They would come back the next day and tell me, ‘I don’t have that injury anymore.’”
But after praying over a disabled girl in a wheelchair, McNeil was called to the office by his manager. “[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 says. “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.’” McNeil agreed.
But the bus company, First Transit of FirstGroup America, disagrees with his version of the events. “First Transit has long appreciated Mr. McNeil’s rapport with the students. . . . We respect his beliefs and the many positive messages he shared with the students,” Stephanie A. Creech, the communications director of FirstGroup America, said in a statement. “This case is about safety. . . . A full internal review revealed that Mr. McNeil failed to follow a critical safety protocol. . . . When advised of his violation, Mr. McNeil chose to resign.”