How do you amass nearly 20,000 Facebook fans in less than a week? You could try being a flight attendant who got so fed up with his job and dealing with ornery passengers that he quit over the airplane’s PA system and then made a dramatic exit through the emergency chute. That’s how Steven Slater did it.
The JetBlue flight attendant – or should that be former JetBlue flight attendant – reportedly told a passenger who was attempting to remove his bags from the overhead locker to sit down. In the process he was hit in the head by the bag or the compartment door. He demanded an apology but was called a “motherfucker” instead.
Slater, 38, reportedly went on the airplane’s PA system and said: “”To the passenger who just called me a motherfucker, fuck you. I’ve been in this business 28 years, and I’ve had it.” He then grabbed a beer and his bags, slid down the inflatable emergency exit chute, made his way across the tarmac and into the terminal building at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and then drove home. He was later arrested at his home in Queens and charged with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief.
The Steven Slater LinkedIn page says he has been with JetBlue since January 2008, while the Steven Slater’s MySpace page says he’s been a flight attendant since 1990 and has previously worked for SkyWest, TWA, and Delta.
His outburst has generated quite a bit of support online. His Facebook page has 19,769 fans at the time of publication, with thousands more following various support pages such as Free Steven Slater, the Steven Slater Tribute Page, the I Support Steven Slater page and I Hate the Motherfucker Who Called Steven Slater a Motherfucker page. There are reportedly some people claiming to be collecting funds for his legal defense but this has not been confirmed by Slater himself.
A poll of Huffington Post readers has 45% of readers declaring that “Steven Slater is my hero!”, 40% saying “he could have handled the situation better, but I can understand his frustration” and just 15% opting for “what he did was reprehensible on every level. He should be fired.” But you can’t be fired, when you’ve already quit, right?