A BART station agent who took pity on an impoverished teen was fired yesterday, on his 66th birthday. Jim Stanek admits that he gave a 16-year-old boy $300 in paid BART tickets because he was having trouble paying for his commute to school. The tickets — collected from commuters who lost tickets and then bought these after exiting Stanek's station at Daly City and handed them over — had piled up in his booth, and he thought they'd be thrown away.

Stanek is a friend of the boy's grandparents, and knew that they were struggling to pay the $220 a month in round-trip fares for the boy to travel from the Pittsburg/Bay Point station near where they lived to the charter school he was attending in San Francisco. Stanek saw the donation as an act of benevolence, and now he's been fired for it by BART, under the policy that no tickets with funds on them are ever thrown away — they're collected and deposited into BART's general fund. So, BART lost $300 to a kid in need, and they just fired the guy? He tells the Chron, "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." Obviously he's now trying to win his job back in the court of public opinion, but shouldn't he?!

Granted, the kid could have gotten himself enrolled in a program that gives students 50% off of their BART fares. Also, Stanek could have just given the kid some of his own money, we suppose... he earned $95,000 last year and will continue to collect a pension and benefits through his union.