A couple weeks ago, SFBay wrote about a BART agent doing a good deed that got him into trouble. The employee, station agent Jim Stanek, improperly gave $300 worth of free tickets to a poor 16-year-old student to help him with his commute.
Stanek, a 65-year-old who has worked for BART for seven years, has now been fired. He complains that he was just trying to do a good deed for a kid — who lost both of his parents, no less — who was having a hard time affording his daily commute.
Stanek gave the teen unused tickets that otherwise would have been
thrown away anyway recycled into BART’s general fund.
But BART didn’t see it that way. Transit spokesman Jim Allison said about the matter:
“The rules are very clear… those tickets are like cash to BART. The integrity of the system depends upon how they’re handling the cash… and the tickets properly.”
Stanek knows that what he did probably wasn’t a good idea. He told the Chron a couple weeks ago:
“I’m not saying I’m unblemished here. I made a mistake. I screwed up. [But] I gave tickets to the boy for reasons not for profit – for benevolence, to help the kid.”
Shouldn’t that bigheartedness count for something? Apparently for BART, the bottom line has no extra room for that kind of nonsense.
“Stanek gave the teen unused tickets that otherwise would have been thrown away anyway.”
Well, we don’t really know that. Though Jim Allison still won’t speak to the specifics of Stanek’s case, he’s stated clearly that unused, recovered tickets aren’t just thrown away; they’re meant to be collected and cycled back into BART’s general fund.
The question I haven’t seen really answered yet is how Stanek got the tickets in the first place. If you accept for the sake of discussion that the tickets really are, functionally, cash, then a lot of the morality here hinges on the answer.
Post modified. Thanks Sean.