JetBlue’s ‘freakin’ flier’ becomes overnight ‘folk hero’
A flight attendant furious with passengers who refused to follow his instructions told them off over the loudspeaker before pulling the chute to make his own dramatic personal emergency exit, police said.
“A day after the attendant-turned-wing-nut had a meltdown on a flight from Pittsburgh, eight Facebook fan pages have been created overnight in Slater’s name, according to AOLNews.com,” The New York Post reports.
Come to San Francisco and I will buy you a drink,” wrote one fan on Facebook. “You are a hero to many!”
There are even “Free Steven Slater” T-shirts available on Customink.com for fans to buy.
The administrator of another Facebook page with nearly 4,000 fans wrote today that many have inquired about helping Slater with his legal bills.
At least seven Facebook fan pages have been created in Slater’s name, one with an image that appears to be from a Jet Blue safety demo showing a man careening down escape chute. “I LOVE YOU! YOU ARE MY HERO!” one fan wrote in all capital letters. “Come to San Francisco and I will buy you a drink,” wrote another. “Steven … you are a hero to many!”
But a Daily News columnist perhaps captures the public reaction to Slater’s antics best, with his headline: “Take This Job and Shove It! JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater does what we all dream of doing.” The New York Post headline blares: “FREAKIN’ FLIER!”
With strangers inquiring about how they can donate to a legal defense fund, the administrator of another Facebook page with more than 3,600 fans (and counting) wrote: “As of this moment there is no official donation response in effect yet however if such a fund is erected it will be made public on here. Thanks for the support!”
The attendant, identified in the US media as Steven Slater, 39, was working a Jet Blue flight from Pittsburgh to New York that had just landed, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said.
Slater told passengers to remain seated upon landing. But when a passenger started collecting his belongings from the overhead bin, disregarding the instructions, Slater tried to stop him but was hit in the head by the baggage and became irate.
When Slater “asked for an apology,” the passenger “instead cursed at him,” The New York Times reported.
Slater “got on the plane’s public address system and cursed out all aboard. Then he activated the inflatable evacuation slide at service exit R1, launched himself off the plane, an Embraer 190, ran to the employee parking lot and left the airport in a car he had parked there.”
The attendant snatched a beer from the galley before jumping on the slide, ABC News reported.
His silver-screen-worthy escape was short-lived.
Police arrested Slater shortly after at his home nearby in Queens.
“There were no injuries and all customers deplaned the aircraft safely through the jetway,” the airline said in a statement.
“At this time, we are working with the FAA and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to investigate the incident. At no time was the security or safety of our customers or crew members at risk.”
According to ABC, Slater was charged with criminal mischief and reckless endangerment.
(with additional reporting by RAW STORY)