Gay Flight Attendant Snaps at Passenger, Chutes out of Plane
A gay flight attendant with JetBlue ran out of patience with a passenger on a plane that had just landed at JFK Monday afternoon. After cursing her out over the p.a. system, he grabbed some beers, pulled the emergency chute, slid down it, and ran from the plane.
But federal courts do not have a sense of humor. They have prosecutors, and 38 year old Steven Slater, of Belle Harbor, Queens was arrested and charged with 2nd-and 4th-degree criminal mischief, 1st- and 2nd-degree reckless endangerment and criminal trespass in the 3rd degree. He could face up to 7 years in prison.
On his MySpace page, Slater confesses to a recent battle with alcoholism, which he claimed to have overcome. He wrote “I can't wait to see where I go next! Beating alcoholism and substance abuse "one day at a time" has opened up new worlds of opportunity for me, and I am so thankful to those who have guided me along the path to successful living, and given me new wings to fly. See you above the clouds....”
According to news reports, he was taken into custody at his home, allegedly interrupted while he was having sexual relations with a partner. Slater’s acts have become a national ‘tour de force.’ A ‘Free Steven Slater’ website has popped up on Facebook with over 2,100 fans, and countless radio and TV talk shows celebrating his deed, or misfortune. His MySpace page indicates that his hero was film actress Karen Black, star of the movie ‘Airport ‘75’, when she, as a stewardess, flies the plane without pilots. It also references his attitude lately, as ‘pissy.’ No kidding.
Slater had been working on Flight 1052 from Pittsburgh to Kennedy Airport, which landed at around noon, when he got into a verbal altercation with a passenger, law-enforcement sources said. The argument began when one of the 100 or so passengers on the flight got up too early to get her luggage from an overhead compartment, according to another passenger interviewed by CNN Tuesday morning. Slater told the passenger to sit back down, he said, -- but, as he approached, the woman continued to pull her belongings down and accidentally struck him in the head with her bag, authorities added.
On nbcnewyork.com, it was reported that Slater asked for an apology but the woman cursed him out, saying in effect "go f--k yourself" and calling him a "mo-fo." Law enforcement sources are still sorting out the specifics, NBC says. Slater got on the flight's announcement system and purportedly responded by cursing out everyone on the plane -- especially the person who mouthed off to him.
After his tirade, he grabbed a couple of beers from the galley, pulled the emergency chute and slid off the Embraer 190 plane. According to police sources, he threw his luggage down first and said something to the effect of "there goes 28 years," before taking the slide which would carry him into notoriety and the handcuffs of federal marshals. The ‘Free Steven Slater’ Facebook page now features a You Tube of Johnny Paycheck’s song, ‘Take this Job and Shove It.”
Jet Blue, distancing itself from the disturbing, humorous act, issued a statement advising the public, “that no one was injured in the incident,” and “at no time was the security or safety of our customers or crewmembers at risk."
Meanwhile, the story has gone worldwide, and working people everywhere are coming to the defense of Slater, who had apparently worked as a flight attendant, in the past, for Delta, TWA, and Sky West Airlines.
Slater, originally from Thousand Oaks, California, who was shown on TV smiling while he was being taken into federal custody, indicated on his MySpace page that he likes “people who are warmhearted and kind, have a sense of right and wrong, and a decent head on their shoulders. Be whoever you are, just be real and be yourself. We are all God's children, each unique and talented in our own right.”
One of his close friends, John Polcari, himself in the customer service field, told SFGN this morning that Steven is a “tender, caring and nurturing human being, but ALL of us have a breaking point. If Steven lost his temper with someone on board, he must have been provoked. Not sure I agree on how Steven took a stand but glad he did.”
-parts of this story were compiled from online sources at CNBC, CNN, and numerous news outlets
UPDATE 2PM: Slater is out on bail.