We’ve all had bad days at a job–the kind of days that make us want to yell “take this job and shove it” at the top of our lungs. Few of us do. Not Steven Slater, the now-former flight attendant for the NYC-based JetBlue airlines. He quit his 20-year airline career Monday in a way not even the craftiest of screenwriters could dream up: by gliding down the emergency slide after landing.
According to the “Wall Street Journal,” it went down like this: JetBlue Flight 1052 from Pittsburgh landed at JFK around noon. Slater was walking through the cabin when a passenger hit him on the head while retrieving his overhead luggage. Slater demanded an apology and the two argued before the passenger shouted “f— off!”
Slater then ran to the front of the plane and shouted the same obscenity over the plane’s PA system, noting that it was especially directed at the man that hit him. According to an official, Slater opening the emergency door, inflated the emergency slide, grabbed two beers from the plane’s supply, slid down the chute and ran down the tarmac. He was arrested by Port Authority police at his Flushing, Queens, home a short while later.
What’s amazing about this is that Slater wasn’t new to this: he’s worked as a flight attendant since 1990 and was even part of Jet Blue’s In-Flight Values committee, according to a report by “The New York Times.”
There’s no question: working in customer service is extremely difficult. It’s a thankless job that can wear on a person. It’s hard to imagine what sort of antics Slater’s put up with throughout the years–and today was finally the breaking point.
Measuring by the sort of press coverage Slater’s received so far, it’s clear he’s destined to become the next aviation superstar, a la Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger, the heroic pilot who successfully crash landed US Airways flight 1549 in the Hudson River in January 2009. Sure, he’s not brave in the traditional sense, but he’s just the sort of anti-hero the common worker needs.
Because he did what so many of us want to do every day: flip the bird to our jobs and just escape. Escape from the annoying teenagers, screaming babies, the drunk businessmen and the mind-numbing monotony of a job that forces you to swallow your pride because ‘the customer’s always right.’ Sure, he’ll probably face some legal troubles (the FAA frowns on this sort of thing,) but it’s likely he’ll end up with TV interviews, a book deal and maybe even a movie deal in the not-too-distant future.
So, kudos to you, Mr. Slater. You’ve shown us that it’s possible to escape from it all down an emergency slide and drink a beer along the way. However, it’s probably going to be a bit hard to explain this during your next job interview.
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Times