Flight Attendant’s Meltdown Sparks Sympathy, Admiration

Steven Slater Now A Hero To Employees Everywhere

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — He blew a gasket, grabbed some brewskis and bolted from his job in a workplace meltdown of epic proportions.

The bizarre case of an angered employee quitting his job in dramatic fashion has caught the attention of people across the country – and the admiration of disgruntled employees everywhere.

JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater posted his $2,500 bail Tuesday night after pleading not guilty to numerous felony charges. But despite his problems, people are celebrating him as a hero – for exiting a stressful job in a fashion they would never dare try.

“He’s mad as hell,” said Upper West Side resident Mike McKone. “And he’s not gonna take it anymore.”

His Monday tirade has made him a hero to some working folks who approve of the way he said “enough is enough.”

At his arraignment on Tuesday, Slater entered into evidence his account of what happened.

“I lost patience after a female passenger had an argument with another passenger and then opened the bin door, hitting me on the head,” he said. “I got the microphone and said ‘to those of you who have shown dignity and respect these last 20 years, thanks for a great ride.’ I accessed the porthole pulled the door handle, inflating the slide, took my baggage and slide down and left.”

In New York, there as no shortage of admiration for Slater’s actions.

“Do I look at that as someone to emulate?” asked Adrienne Jamiel. “Yes,” she said emphatically.

“I’m unemployed,” said another New Yorker. “And frankly, he’s my hero.”

And all over the Internet, there are messages of admiration, most notably on Facebook, where users are leaving comments like:

“You’re my hero! I’ll fly with you anytime!” and “You are just awesome, sir! Thank you for standing up and demanding respect for us all!”

So what is it about this flight attendant who allegedly swore up a blue streak on JetBlue that’s resonated with so many?

CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport spoke with Dr. Ben Dattner, a workplace psychologist.

“I think a lot of people dream of doing something like that,” said Dr. Dattner. “We all know the song ‘Take this Job and Shove It.’”

He adds that while most everyone has a boss or a job issue that grates at them, few ever pull a Steven Slater.

“When people feel that they don’t control their workplace environment and they are getting blamed for things, they can snap.”

And in today’s rough economy, with so many struggling just to keep their paycheck, Dr. Dattner said a lot of employees are forced to work jobs they dislike and bite their tongue.

Until the flight attendant.

“Honestly,” said Upper East Side resident Susan Littwin. “Can any human being say they never wanted to do that? I don’t think so.”

But few will ever give notice – or get noticed – the way this guy did.

To weigh in on the story, or share a dramatic way you quit your job, click here and post it on our Facebook page!


One Comment


    i know that besides the first day he started that job, the day he quite was the BEST DAY of his 28 years, JUST LOOK AT THE SMILE ON HIS FACE.

  2. cbrenn says:

    As an ex New Yorker, I feel for him. How many flights have we all experienced landing at JFK or LaGuardia, with an obnoxious, rude passenger, making a fuss.
    Good for him. I hope the woman who started it feels ridiculous.

  3. Ravan says:

    Slater is no average person. Very few people can boast holding a position – dealing with the public – and held calm for over 2 decades? Impressive. Some of my friends at United once told me horrific stories while in the air. It’s wonderful to see the world, they have said. There’s never two sides to any story involving a veteran frequent flier with a chip on his/her shoulder.

  4. Mike R says:

    the passenger created a security risk by trying to access the overhead baggage when it was not permited during that portion of the flight. I wish Mr Slater had dealt with this in a different manner but the disruptive passenger should have been arrested

  5. Barreboy says:

    Can you imagine being stuck in a plane with a bunch of frequent flyers for 20 years. Just once you want to slide down that emergency slide.

    I wonder how long it took to get the aircraft deboarded… poor souls.

  6. mirza baig says:

    In the time of hardship it is one s courage to a step like that

  7. npontt says:

    He made real the old dream about “stopping the world and getting off!”
    Great performance! Nice script, precise and witty words and dramatic action.
    The plot for the best of all the very short movies ever.

    1. Anna says:

      Well put, npontt! i agree. I would like to add to the above commenters that life is filled with too many rules and regulations and restrictions. anyone who says she/he doesn’t dream of freedom is probably out of touch with their inner self. God bless Steve Slater.

  8. Edward Beartavern says:

    Steve Slater jumped out a plane because some idiot needed to get out of his seat before the plane stopped. The real issue here is not Steven’s loss of patience but the moron who decided that he didn’t have to obey the rules. This selfish egotist not only placed himself in danger, who cares is he wants to help cleanse the gene pool of is stupid DNA, but placed other people on board in danger. Should the plane have jolted and he fell on someone, or if something from the overhead bin he opened fell on someone it would have been someone else paying for his stupidity–hey is this clown a politician. I think the flight crew needs the power to fine, suspend and ban these ” the rules don’t apply” fools from flying. This will end the dangerous behavior Steve said enough to.

  9. Kim A. says:

    Somehow I’m not surprised that rude, obnoxious and out-of-control behavior has become something to “emulate”.

  10. Steve M. says:

    “Do I look at that as someone to emulate?” asked Adrienne Jamiel. “Yes,” she said emphatically…………………Emulate someone that responds by melting down in the workplace? Since when has bad behavior become something to ’emulate’…I’ve got an idea Slater; take responsibility for your idiocy and apologize….

    1. Jody K says:

      Steve M.

      I am sure you are one of the passengers that thinks that it is okay to treat these hard warking people this way. You say he melted down in the workplace and he should take responsibility for his idiocy and apoligize… Well I say what about the people that think it is okay to abuse these people and hit them in the head with what ever it was he was hit with, why does this lady take responsibility and apologize? What makes it okay for these people to act this way?

    2. Ive says:

      apologize to whom? apologies mean nothing if you don’t mean it. Actually, they mean nothing nowadays because parents have forced kids to say it so often, they think if is a free pass for everything. I’m sorry is a meaningless phrase.

  11. Linn1212 says:

    What about arresting the woman passenger who got up while the plane was moving and opened the overhead compartment when she was told not to. The passenger became verbally abusive, cursed at the attendant and hit him with her bag, leaving him with a scar on his forehead. Was she arrested? While I think the attendant was wrong in his response to her actions, the abusive passenger should have be arrested on assult charges and whatever laws may apply.

Comments are closed.

More From CBS New York

Get Our Morning Briefs

Watch & Listen LIVE