Transit cops arrest a man for jumping the turnstile, then later help him find a job. He was a recent immigrant who can now support his family.
A summons for jumping a turnstile turned into a job last month for a recent Sri Lankan immigrant.
MTA police officers Christopher D'Onofrio and Paul Martino were working a plainclothes shift at theTompkinsville Station of the Staten Island Railway on April 15 when they saw a couple approach the turnstile. The woman swiped a MetroCard to pay the fare but the man jumped the turnstile.
The officers stopped the man, Sangeeth Wuesinghe, 26, and issued him a summons. Luckily for Wuesinghe, the interaction caused him to miss his train and let the officers struck up a conversation with him.
"What was unique about him was you could tell he was genuinely upset that he had to jump the turnstile," D'Onofrio, 36, said.
"Most people are just sorry they get caught. He just was sorry he did what he did, but he did it because he had no other means."
Wuesinghe told them he recently moved to Staten Island from Sri Lanka and was working odd jobs since he got here. He couldn't land anything solid and was struggling to pay rent and could only afford a fare for his wife.
After he heard the story, D'Onofrio called his friend Dushmantha Premasiri, 32, who manages the Bolla Market up the block from the station, to see if he was hiring.
"You have to apply online and we have a procedure, but because of [D'Onofrio] I told him to come for the training," said Premasiri, who came to Staten Island from Sri Lanka nearly eight years ago.
After several days of training, Premasiri concluded that Wuesinghe would be a good employee, so he hired him full-time as a cashier — a job he now works nearly 60 hours a week.
"I now work every day. I'm happy," said Wuesinghe, who used to load cargo ships in Sri Lanka.