Pulling A Slater

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
By George Hatcher

By now probably everyone has heard about the Jet Blue flight attendant who flamboyantly quit his job.

If you haven’t heard, this is the buzz: Steven Slater was at work at the end what must have been a very stressful flight ending at Kennedy.

A passenger retrieving items from over the seat failed to listen to Slater’s directives, and cussed Slater out. Slater got beaned in the head by this passenger’s falling luggage, failed to get an apology, and cussed out the passenger over the intercom. After blowing off steam, Slater grabbed a beer, evacuated from the plane via the emergency slide, and headed for home. Note that he had the self-restraint not to punch out the rude flyer.

Slater was arrested at his home and charged with 2nd-and 4th-degree criminal mischief, 1st- and 2nd-degree reckless endangerment and criminal trespass in the 3rd degree.

Like thousands of others hearing about this story, I have an opinion–and that is that both the passenger and Slater (and possibly the media) need a time out.

(A little overboard there on the charges, even if Slater is one of those surly attendant types. As a frequent flyer, I’ve come across surly flight attendants who could use charm lessons or another job; I’ve also come across surly passengers who tested flight attendants to their max. The guy should get some slack.)

Both of them should have had escorts off the plane. But as far as this being a criminal offense on Slater’s part–that’s going off the deep end. Maybe Jet Blue will spring for Slater to have an anger management course–and maybe the passenger should take a class in manners. One wonders just what Slater had to put up with during that flight.

Consider this: Just because you buy a ticket that packs you into a glorified flying sardine can in close quarters with hundreds of other ticket-purchasers, why should you have to have any manners at all? Certainly the ticket buys you the right to cuss out the attendants who ARE THERE TO SEE TO YOUR SAFETY. After all, you’re the only person who matters aboard the plane. Wait. Maybe not. Maybe the ticket assumes that the passenger is going to behave like a civilized human being.

I hope that whoever decided these ludicrous charges will consider that Slater did not do any physical harm to the rude/unruly passenger (who would have been arrested if Slater’s breakdown had waited a few moments longer.)

Maybe Slater considers the drama of deploying the emergency slide is worth the cost. I hope so, because that cost is probably going to be coming out of his soon-to-be-unemployed-pocket. It remains to be seen. Anyway, let’s see how long it takes for the term “Pull a Slater” to enter the national vocabulary; he already has a huge fan base, possibly a future with SNL and may end up in a National Lampoon Vacation movie. There’s already a facebook page called ” I Hate The Mf That Called Steven Slater A MF”

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