Steven Slater was already having a bad day. He had just landed at JFK from Pittsburgh a tad late and his passengers were restless. One even got up to fetch her hand baggage while the aircraft was still on its way to the gate. Slater told the woman to sit down, but she just ignored him. More forcefully, he told her to leave the carry-on bag in the overhead bin and to immediately be seated.
She continued to flout his instructions, so he got up to confront her. As he neared her seat, she finally dislodged her oversized carry-on bag and inadvertently swung it as it wedged out of the compact overhead bin. It smacked Mr. Slater on the face and cut his forehead. He asked the woman for an apology, but she refused and promptly told him to "go f— yourself". Then things got bad…
Angry at his lame job with a crappy airline and livid at the way he had just been disrespected by a foul-mouthed passenger as drops of blood dripped on his dark blue uniform, he determined that enough was enough. Now past the breaking point, he reached for the PA and greeted the beleaguered cabin with a string of expletives, including special variations of the f-bomb for the irksome woman.
But his soliloquy did not assuage his anger. Having already surpassed the point of no return, Slater decided to go out with gusto. After grabbing a handful of beers (after all, it would be quite a hike home), he ripped open the emergency exit door toward the aft of the plane and deployed the emergency exit slide. After loudly stating, "There goes 28 years," down he went, and scampered across the tarmac and into the terminal.
And then this:
Slater was later arrested at his home in Belle Harbor, Queens by Port Authority officials. Police sources said that when authorities found Slater he seemed to be in the midst having sexual relations.
Slater is charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, and criminal trespass. He faces up to seven years in prison.
The exit slide fiasco is bothersome, but not nearly as bothersome as the fact that this guy cussed out the whole plane. Where’s the professionalism? Where’s the patience? We all have our boiling points, but cussing out a passenger because of her juvenile behavior is petty and itself juvenile.
The funny thing (to me) is that most of the reader comments I have read from outlets covering the story are applauding this guy for standing up to the passenger. I cannot fathom how Mr. Slater’s actions can be praised, though I must concede I don’t know how I would have handled a similar situation.
Poor Mr. Slater faces some time in the pokey, but I suspect he’ll get off with a slap on the wrist. And as for Jet Blue, I think this little fiasco will help them sell more tickets, as perverted as that may be. And it may even cause DYKWIA passengers to think twice before degrading their flight crews.
photo courtesy of Facebook