“Act of Benevolence” Could Cost BART Worker His Job

Jim Stanek, who has worked as a station agent for BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) for the past seven years, faces the loss of his job for giving $300 worth of tickets so a student could afford his commute to school. According to SFGate, 65-year-old Stanek gave a stack of paid, unused tickets (left behind by commuters) to the 16-year-old grandson of a friend, Lonnie Gordon. The boy’s father died last year and Gordon and his wife had stepped in to care for the teenager, a student in Herculaneum public schools.

But the teenage began to struggle in school and was suspended. Gordon and his wife sent him instead to Flex Academy in San Francisco, a tuition-free charter school. The teenager is a junior there now and has reportedly been doing much better. A round-trip ticket from the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART Station to San Francisco costs $11.00, about $200 a month and a significant expense for Gordon and his wife, both retirees.

As Gordon told SFGate, “It’s a real long commute, it’s a lot of trouble, but if it can keep him on the right track, that’s where I want him to go to school.” Stanek stepped in to help and gave the teenager the tickets, while knowing that it was against the rules — as BART spokesman Jim Allison puts it, “tickets are like cash to us.”

Stanek had to attend a personnel hearing today, April 20, and has been told that he may be forced to take early retirement. He indeed notes that he is not “unblemished,” “made a mistake” and “screwed up.” But he emphasizes that he gave the boy the tickets “not for profit – for benevolence, to help the kid.” As he says, “the penalty does not, to me, seem to be fitting the crime.”

Wouldn’t it be more of a crime for the teenager not to be attend a school where he has been successful, especially after significant troubles? Might not the boy’s needs be taken into account as extenuating circumstances and Stanek be allowed to keep his job — should not Stanek’s giving the teenager the tickets be seen as an attempt to keep a potentially at-risk young person on the right track?

Take Action: Tell BART not to punish Stanek for his act of kindness.


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Ginger Sandberg Ratsep
Virginia Ratsep6 years ago

It seems to me that if a passenger purchases a ticket they become the owner of that ticket and it is theirs to do with as they please. In that case, if they abandon the ticket it shouldn't return to the ownership of the BART. From that standpoint, it would appear that Jim did not take any property belonging to the BART and thus should not be fired. It's not like the teen was going to get a free ride because the tickets were paid for. Seriously, the BART needs to step back from this one.

mike rollo
mike rollo6 years ago

Kimberlee you're right to a degree but if the tix were abandoned then what's the harm? Do you ever go over the speed liit? Even accidentally? If the answer is yes do you think the police should find you and ticket you.If the answer is yes then i respect that if it's no then you're a hypocrit.I don't need an answer ,it's a hypothetical question.Just something to think about it.Not enough ppl do kind things for others this day and age so i salute this man for trying to help this kid but that's just my opinion

Kimberlee W.
Kimberlee W6 years ago

Personally, I like Tony's suggestion.

As for Marta, you think I listen to Limbaugh? ? ?


You've never read any of my comments before, have you?
I'm just saying that if you own a business, and that business gives you a list of company rules and you break them, even if only for a good reason, then you have to give the employer the credit for listing the rules in the first place. This wasn't a stupid man, he was a kind man, but businesses don't hire people for their humanity. That's simply a fact; I don't particularly care for it, but I have this weird thing about living in the real world.
If you have a restaurant and when someone leaves food on the table, you don't want your employees giving leftover food out the back door without your knowledge. You, as an employer might consider that into your policy, but you're not paying your employees to Write Your Policy for you. Matter of fact, I'd think most people would have a problem with that.
And, unlike you, I don't see the use of the word "socialism" as a bad thing. I'm hoping eventually we become a socialistic Democracy, similar to what some of the Southern Hemisphere states are becoming.

Me? An Assbaugh fan - - - - that's a riot!

Tony C.
Tony C6 years ago

The tickets were bought and paid for. Does BART want to be paid twice for the same tickets? If BART sells them again then they are the thieves unless they just throw them in a drawer and that would be a shame. If the owner should show up and wants the tickets or the money, Mr. Stanek would have to pay the owner the $300.00. He should keep his job and a stern warning should be given to Mr. Stanek that if he does it again he will be fired.

Marta B.
Past Member 6 years ago

Hey Ms. Kimberlee W:
Not every act of humanity between people is "creeping socialism".
Stop listening to Limbaugh every single day; wean off the "Hillbilly Heroin Junkie's hate-filled rants to just once a week to get a world perspective.
These were PAID FOR, ABANDONED TICKETS, and that applies to EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS. If someone pays me for something and they discard it, ANYONE is entitled to use it. Only a tea-bagger would consider that theft.

Kimberlee W.
Kimberlee W6 years ago

Oh Hells Bells! I was trying to be nice.

Let's face it; from BART's POV, this was employee theft and in fact, that's exactly what it was.

Try applying the logic to another business and tell me different.

Kimberlee W.
Kimberlee W6 years ago

Ms. Chew - Lovely a sentiment as it is, the guy can't do that to his boss. What if all workers everywhere did that? Yes, it would be lovely and it would be lovely if we could all go down to the stream and hold hands and sing Kumbaya also, but that's not how the world works.

I'm not even sure the world Should work that way.

You've really gone over the top this week, Ms. Chew. Time to back away from the keys and start really READING what you're writing. Fine line between anarchy/frivolity and stealth-mandated, charitable socialism.

Philip Amos
.6 years ago

These tickets were of no use to BART, the action of Mr. Stanek was entirely charitable in its movtive, he's 65 and presumably to the verge of retirement, so leave him the hell alone. And we don't need any casuistic moralizing from fundamentalist Christians on here.

Loo Samantha
Loo sam6 years ago


Von C.
Von D6 years ago

The man said plain and straight out that he knew that it was against the rules and did it anyway. There may be something in place for the use of these tickets that can't be used the way it is intended if they are all given away to one person who is the friend of the man with access to them. If it is such a long commute then why didn't they find someplace closer to home to send him. Then there is that major number one point everyone wants to ignore, if he hadn't screwed up in his regular school so spectacularly he wouldn't have needed another school to begin with.