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August 11th, 2010 by Dr. Phil

Free Steven Slater? Or Send Him to Jail?

AP Photo/Louis Lanzano

AP Photo/Louis Lanzano

By now, you’ve no doubt heard all about Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who decided to quit his job after a female passenger allegedly cursed him and conked him over the head with a suitcase.

And boy, did he quit in a big way. First, it was reported that he cursed back over the plane’s public address system at the passenger, dropping several F-bombs. Then, after one last defiant declaration — (he reportedly yelled, “That’s it! I’m done! F*** you all!”) — he allegedly grabbed a cold beer from the galley, released the inflatable emergency exit slide, slid down and disappeared across the tarmac. 

Now, Slater’s the new Internet celebrity. He’s got his own fan page and an online support group that is called “Free Steven Slater.” For a lot of Americans who have long wanted to cry out, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore,” he’s become a genuine folk hero, a dramatic symbol of hope to working stiffs everywhere.

But he’s also been charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and criminal trespass. And JetBlue executives apparently want him brought to justice. According to a memo issued by Vicky Stennes, a JetBlue vice president, “Some media outlets are portraying yesterday’s event as a humorous example of what individuals may consider doing at a point in their careers — walking off the job in a very public fashion. However … deploying a slide is a forceful event and yesterday’s deployment endangered, and could have severely injured or even killed.”

Slater’s fans are furious, saying it’s not as if he opened the doors when the plane was in the air. All he was doing, they insist, was standing up for his own dignity. And hey, they add, he didn’t get violent and go postal on everyone. He just slid away into the night with a cold brewski in his hand.

Let’s agree to one thing: it’s not easy to be a flight attendant these days. Passengers regularly give them grief for things beyond their control, like flight cutbacks, smaller and smaller food offerings, and extra fees for everything from checked luggage to earphones.

But let’s also be honest about something else. Flight attendants are taught from the very beginning exactly what they’re going to face on flights. They know they’re going to be dealing with very rude passengers who do things like drink too much or demand that their carry-on bags be stored exactly a certain way in a particular compartment. If we had every flight attendant throwing a tantrum over the kind of lousy work he or she sometimes had to do, we’d never get another flight in the air. And what if a pilot pulled a Slater? Would we be laughing then?

Still, I’m not going to sit here and just wag my finger at Mr. Slater. Haven’t all of us, at some point in our lives, considered walking off our jobs, telling everyone to shove it? (As I’ve said many times, if you have never had a job that you fantasized about storming out on, you just haven’t been working long enough.) And doesn’t it seem a little unfair that the passenger who allegedly bonked the flight attendant with the suitcase gets to walk away scot free?

I want to know what you think. We seem to be living in a world were more and more people are acting ruder — and stupider — than ever before, and they are completely getting away with it. Should they, like the lady passenger, deserve a Slater-like response, in which we rip off the masks of social niceties, get in their faces and tell them where to stick it? And what would you have done if you were in Slater’s shoes? Would you have given up your career for just one more glorious moment of outrage?

I look forward to reading your responses. And, I confess, I wish Mr. Slater well. But I do wonder what’s going to happen to him in a couple of weeks when the Internet loses interest in his story. What happens after his 15 minutes of fame? This isn’t TV. There won’t be any closing credits and happily-ever-after music playing. If he doesn’t land a book deal, the guy’s going to have a lot of trouble finding another job. I sure hope he enjoyed that free beer.

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115 Responses to “Free Steven Slater? Or Send Him to Jail?”

  1. Rhonda Miga says:

    yes, we all want to walk off the job. I do think JetBlue is right that someone could have been injured…opening the escape slide could have injured someone on the ground and I don’t think it is an easy tasks to wind that thing back up so it opens correctly the next time it is really needed. The good news is no one DID get hurt. The sad news, no one needed to hear the f bomb over the speaker on the plane.

    I don’t know what the answer is but I do think there should have to pay for the clean up.

  2. Linda says:

    In the uk, we (customers) dont dare raise our voice over a staff in any customer service position.. the staff here are so protected, even if they do wrong and abuse you, you have no right to give it to them or you are in deep trouble with the police and the law.
    I wish the British would only know what sort of service the Americans provide, being the top country in the world with the best service. This man, like many people in positions that deal with such bitchy clients, is only human. And how much can a human take?
    That woman should have bee thrown off the plane by the other staff for abusing a staff member. I mean he should sue her for ruining his life..
    If I were him, i would hit her back with her bag and show her how it feels to be insulted.
    Some people need to stay off public transport, they should stay home and rot. She must be punished for what she has caused him.

  3. Ayesha says:

    Dear Dr. Phil, I personally don’t think that what this guy did was right. I have been working for I don’t know how long and believe me I have had moments where I had wanted to just punch the person or slap him/her, but common sense prevailed and I desisted. But maybe I’m no better off than him ( steven slater) as I punched not a client but a colleague in the stomach real hard after slapping him when he tried to sexually harass me and said the F word to me. But I did not quit my job, my colleague instead was thrown out by security and fired on the spot. So, maybe there are some things that do push your buttons and make u over react.

  4. I think JetBlue could take the cost of the beer out of his last check. Maybe he could be charged with public profanity. but other than that he didn’t do anything illegal. Although the passenger should face criminal charges for asulting him.

  5. Marsha Sumal says:

    I really think this issue should never occur, period. The size, weight of luggage should be screened as carry-on or not allowable, LONG before the passenger gets to the gate. People show up with so much crap, strollers, golf clubs, etc. Of course disabled folks require their walkers, canes, medications. Children require their basic needs. And in addition to that, really, what do people really have to shlep? It’s an obvious safety issue and the FA’s have quite enough to do rather than fight with cranky, belligerent passengers that have been through the security wringer already. I think it’s everyone’s fault. Unrealistic expectations on everyone’s part. I used to love to fly. Now, I’d rather powder my behind with gun powder and set it on fire. I dread it worse than a root canal.

  6. joanne locascio says:

    I was a flight attendant for 13 years with American Airlines. There were mostly good days in flight but occasionally there would be a really bad one. I was working a flight from NY to LA and was treated sooo badly by one family. I buttoned by lip and did the job that I was there for, When I arrived at the hotel I broke down, called my husband and said I want to quit this job. I had never been so verbally abused and had so many demands on me. The following week –guess what? The very nasty family boarded the plane and were seated in my area!! I asked my co-worker to switch working positions with me and she did. She was a life saver!
    I think Slater had a really bad day but took it to the extreme! He should have said nothing fowl and just sucked it up. The exit was very rediculous. I think he should be terminated. What if he snaps again?? Passenger safety is the main reason why flight attendants are there!

  7. Sammi P. says:

    Steven Slater Is my hero!!! I wish I could do what he did (but I need my job). I’d love to give Mr. Slater a high-five for speaking for all us working people with the action he took on JetBlue and I’d also love to have a beer with him:)

  8. Prisilla says:

    Let’s not kid ourselves on this one. We are living in a world where there has been many millions if not billions of dollars spent worldwide to tighten security in all areas of air travel. You will go to jail if you joke about a bomb in the security line-up. There are x-ray machines that can see through your clothes. You can’t even take a full bottle of shampoo on a plane anymore. You get the point. This guy violated so many secutiy and safety regulations, it’s not even funny. I’m sure he is not laughing right now, wherever he is.
    In many other types of work places, you can find some fabulous way to quit, but this is not one of them!!

  9. Mary C Ryan says:

    Dr. Phil,How did he get the beer on the Plane? I am very happy this plane did not take of,Something if wrong with our system?
    I think we need evan the people our still not over 9/11 Yet.Mybe they should have more counsiling?
    Mary Ryan

  10. Judith Hayes says:

    Dr. Phil, My personal feelings is that those, who’s job is one of service to the public, should never, under any circumstance, use profanity. At the time the woman struck “HIM” in the head and used profanity at “HIM”, she was the bad guy. But when he went out over the inner-com, using profanity directed at “ALL” passengers, HE became the bad guy, in my judgement.

    But here is the legal dilemma, or quandary, he was struck in the head hard enough to draw blood. Who could judge him, his actions after that?

    As for Vicky Steness, vice president of Jet Blue, and the charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and criminal trespass, they, ‘JetBlue’, are just trying to cover their legal butts. Good luck trying to prove those charges. They know he is the one who could file suit against them. Mr. Steven Slater was the injured party. And JetBlue failed to protect him from injury. Mr. Slater should file charges against the female passenger who, “Allegedly” struck him in the head with her suitcase. I would love to serve any any of the above court cases. And JetBlue should fear me and all the thousands of jurors like me.

  11. Judith Hayes says:

    Dr. Phil, My personal feelings are that those, who’s job is one of service to the public, should never, under any circumstance, use profanity.
    At the time the woman struck ‘HIM’ in the head and used profanity at ‘HIM’, she was the bad guy. But when he went out over the plane’s address system, using profanity directed at ‘ALL’ passengers, HE became the bad guy, in my judgement.

    But here is the legal dilemma, or quandary, he was struck in the head hard enough to draw blood. Which of us could judge him, his actions after that?

    As for Vicky Steness, vice president of Jet Blue, and the charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and criminal trespass, they, ‘JetBlue’, are just trying to cover their legal butts. Good luck trying to prove those charges.

    They, ‘JetBlue’, know he is the one who could file suit against them. Mr. Steven Slater was the injured party. And JetBlue failed to protect him from injury.
    Mr. Slater should file assault charges against the female passenger, who, “Allegedly” struck him in the head with her suitcase.
    I would love to serve on any of the above court cases. And JetBlue should fear me and all the thousands of jurors like me out there.

  12. SISTER says:


  13. Carter says:

    Not only do I think Mr. Slater’s behavior was highly inappropriate, he very well could have endangered the entire plan full of people. We are constantly reminded via the media how thin the thread of sanity is for some people. What if the passenger involved in this situation had been more unstable? The staff on a plane have to be level-headed enough so as not to unnessarily excite the easily excitable. They have to be able to remain calm and respectful (and respectable) in even the most difficult of circumstances. Furthermore, I understand coming to a point in which you feel like throwing in the towel ( who hasn’t at one time or another) but this rarely occurs overnight. For Mr. Slater to have felt so overwhelmed that he felt the need to walk off the job the way he did he likely had been fed up with his job for some time. He should have done the grown-up, professional thing and submitted a resignation.

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  15. Linda says:

    I have worked with the public pretty much my entire adult life and I can say that there are people out there who seem to think that because we serve them we are servants and there for their abuse. That being said I do not agree with his reaction to the Alledgged assault but has anyone stopped to think that maybe Mr.Slater removing himself from the plane before flight might actually have averted a far more dangerous situation. What if he had kept quiet, and sucked it up? would the lady have felt she could continue to abuse him through the flight? If so what would have happened had he lost it while the plane was in flight? I am not condoning his reaction to being assaulted, but do we not all have a flight or fight response mechanism within us? Btter he took flight before the plane and not the fight one while in mid air.

  16. sandra says:

    There is nothing admirable about uncontrolled anger
    Uncontrolled anger is a sign neither of strength nor of virtue. It is a weakness.
    Many individuals today would argue that venting anger is just a natural response to stress, an unavoidable reaction to our high-pressure, aggressive society. Is it true, then, that the popular notion, “When angry, let it out,” is actually good advice?
    “Acting on anger leads to even more aggression,” states The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). According to research, men who manifest anger “are more likely to be dead by age 50 than those who do not.”
    The American Heart Association similarly states: “Men who experience outbursts of anger have twice the risk of stroke as men who control their tempers.” These warnings are relevant to both sexes.

  17. Beth says:

    I was a flight attendant and passengers can be very rude and abusive in many ways. Most of the time you just have to suck it up and do your job, but there is a point where that ends. He should have called the Captain and told him that this passenger assaulted him and had her thrown off the plane and had the cops waiting for her in the jet way. Abusing another person whether it be the flight attendant or another passenger is unacceptable. The flight attendant should not have done what he did. I think it was excessive. Passengers really need to remember that flight attendants are there for their safety first and foremost. They can only do their best with what they have. Serving 50 people per 1 flight attendant is hard work and not everyone is going to get what they want, but they try their best. I think both the passenger and the flight attendant in this case need to be punished in some way.

  18. Signe Marie Johnsen says:

    Hey, Dr Phil.

    I’m a girl from Norway, that is following your shows from time too time. And excuse me my English writing, it’s been a long time since the last time I’ve had to write in English.

    I did read about this case in Norwegian media, and have thought a little bit on it. And it doesn’t surprise me at all. In this world we live in, the extreme and stupid are winning against reason and thinking.

    Here in Norway the security is somewhat strong, when it comes too flying. However, it’s not as extreme as in USA. But we are experiences problems here too. I don’t know, but I remember a episode from many years ago, when a man was allowed(i’m not pretty sure on this fact) to take an ax on board a plane, and it resulted in a dead pilot. This is of course one of the most extreme episodes in Norwegian flying history.

    But I read.. I read about people being unhappy in their jobs. Because of people being mean. Really mean. F-bombs, assault, you name it. And it’s not funny to read about, because this makes a statement, that if YOU are thinking about to join this group and become a FA, you have to deal with this sorts of things. And it’s not cool!

    No one! should be placed in that situation where another human is trying to make your job a living hell! No one!

    About this case, I’m thinking that yeah, he made a choice, and he have too live with it, time will show if he’s up to it. But the female passenger should be prosecuted to. For assaulting a FA. She DID actually hit him with baggage.

    So I say that a punishment is in order for the both of them. Female passenger should take some time in prison or/and pay a fine. And karma will eventually catch up with Mr Slater.

    Greetings from Norway!

  19. FosterBoys says:

    A family member of mine is a pilot for JetBlue. Steven Slater has a history of questionable conduct.

    JetBlue is right, if that slide had been deployed while ground crew was around, someone could’ve been seriously hurt or killed.

  20. pastelwendy says:

    I think Slater was wrong in the way he handled it. He did endanger lives in going down the slide. However, people do seam to be ruder to others than they used to be. It has become a “me” society. If people don’t get their way, they throw a fit. Maybe he should have “killed” her with kindness. Told her off in a friendly sounding manner. In the end, by doing it the way he did…he has hurt himself in the long run. Was it worth his career?

  21. Julie says:

    We all have frustrations. At the store, home, work, etc. As an individual, you need to determine how to deal with stress as it is more and more common. Scary as it is, there are some out there who will just wack out. I really think that this Steven guy is one of them. There are things you just don’t do. Period. Let alone while at work. Some folks are scared to fly. There are children on board. Profanity is not necessary. A 5 yr old can say the ‘F’ word. It does not make you cool or awesome. Not talent to cuss. As a passenger, they look to the flight attendants for calmness, order, confidence that they will arrive safely at their destination. If a fellow passenger acts up, it is there job to defuse the situation not add to it. Very embarrasing for all concerned. He needs to be fired and go to anger management classes for his own benefit. He needs to pay for the plane retrofit. He has as I understand in the past had alcohol issues. Taking a beer is not a positive sign. Regardless of the passenger/situation, he needed to handle it better. After he got off work do whatever you want in your own home. I have not worked for 3 yrs. I have tremendous stress. Raising a child, using my retirement funds to survive, knowing that I will run out of funds now let alone when I am retired. I do not get any subsidies as I was responsible and saved. Jobs are scarce. He had/has no respect for the fact that he had one. Add to that medical and dental insurance which I do not have like so many others. I think we can find a better “hero”

  22. Andre Lefort says:

    He’s a zero and not a hero for all those above reasons…..you have to learn that retaliation does not pay but will aggravate a situation.

  23. Send him to jail or at least on probation and make him pay back the $25,000 cost for resetting the chute. I am shocked and saddened that people see him as a hero. What does this say about our society?

  24. Susani Sacca says:

    Dear Dr. Phil,

    You above anyone else knows the intricrite workings of the human brain.

    Since you lived in TX, and are a doctor who was in private practice for well over 30 years, I can understand why CNN, and other media outlets approach you when such events happen and are the up to the minute “news” of the day.

    People dont always seem to be how they appear.

    It scares me at times to think a person could snap when they reach there mental limits. Expecially this flight attendant.

    He was incharge of being a rolemodel for the passengers aboard this flight, and to his airline, and also to obey his CAPT, as well as follow all LAWS which pertain to traveling on an airplane, domestic as well as International. These Laws became more structured and pertiant post 9/11.

    THE Flight attentants job also is to keep the passengers on the airplane safe, and follow the rules of the skies. It is up to each passenger to obey all flight attendants and behave in a respectful, manner and to do as they are told in order to avoid this exact situation.

    Who am I to make any judgement on this man, or the supposive IRATE passenger who caused this original conflict? Should this flight attentant be arrested for cursing, or opening the door and slide down to exit quickly and who grabbed 3 beers?

    Is this against the LAW and did it bring harm to any other passengers at the time of this event?

    ALSO……Is this “woman” who used vulgar language and disrespected this flight attendant and “supposedly banged his head” from the overhead canpartment being interviewed or possibly herself be arrested? Did she break any laws?

    It goes back to the top of this post. People dont always seem to be as they represent themselves.

    A “supposive” kindhearted, law obeying citizen, with a outstanding RESUME who applied for FLIGHT ATTENDANT postions could have serious mental health issues.

    They could be in dire need of PHYCH/medications, they I M O should not be put in a postion which peoples lives are at stake, and as a result of this incident such a “job” should have a very strong/or new stronger guidelines and background checks, to obtain if these candiates have ever been hospitalized for depression, or any other sort of mental health issues.

    People with mental health issues can live productive lives.

    I M O if a person is diagn/with ANY mental health or Illness and they are under a doctors care and are medicated they can and should be allowed to work without pred/ however such individuals I M O should not be allowed to be a Flight attendants who are under stressful situations.

  25. Danae says:

    I, for one, do NOT believe this guy is any sort of ‘hero’ at all. I think he behaved badly and in no way should be ‘rewarded’ for his bad behaviour. (sheesh, if kids can’t get away with it, why should adults?)

    Should he be jailed? I don’t know. I don’t see a reason that strikes me as ‘jailable’. It seems he was acting very juvenile and definitely needs to be put in a corner for awhile, but a jail sentence that’ll go on a permanent record? I don’t see that as being helpful either.

    I can fully understand him deciding he had enough. I’ve been in a service position before and it can be maddening when someone decides to get abusive. – And really, there should be company policies that help employees in those cases. Someone to escort the customer out, and maybe give the employee some time off to recollect themselves, etc. Employees really should not be expected to sit there and take it with no recourse. – But as soon as he reacted like that, he was no better than the abusive customer, becoming himself abusive to people who had nothing to do with the situation! I mean, no one should be subjected to language like that, and how is he any better than the woman who hit him with a bag?

    What the ‘answer’ to this is, I could not say, except that he should not be given any more attention. If he had not quit, I would say they ought to fire him. But no, he is most definitely no hero. A hero would have been a gentleman about the situation, not a maniac. He could have found a quiet, clever way to put her in her place that would have left him, and his family, able to be proud of him. Instead, he’s got himself into a whole lot of trouble for what?

  26. angela says:

    I do not believe that this man is a hero. There are many different ways to handle being abused by another. Acting out in this way that could put others at risk is not acceptable. I will be flying in a few weeks. I hope I will encounter more professional FAs. If there is a disruptive or difficult passangers on board there are other ways of dealing with it than swearing at everyone over the PA.

    I don’t know if he should be jailed but I think he should be required to pay the costs associated with his “stunt”. It bothers me greatly that we live in a society that applauds bad behaviour. It only means others will be encouraged to act out instead of deal with their feelings in a mature and helpful way.

  27. vikkie says:

    my view on this guy is he stopped feeling needed or important and like so many children he had a temper fit as a child oh well as an adult he was aware of the risks he was taking and just didnt give a damn

  28. Cindy Land says:

    I am in agreement with you Dr. Phil, this guy is no hero…and the women who started it all should have been made to leave the plane too. You do many shows about teenagers and kids bullying each other and their parents wonder where they learn the behavior…DUH!!! All the adults now in our society are acting like the biggest bullies of all!!! I worked my whole adult life for lawyers, so you can only imagine the types of irate clients I had to come in contact with over the years!! I found at those critical moments, my best approach was a big smile, and a warm, “I’m sorry you are having a bad day. How can I make it better for you?” A response like that immediately disarms the attacker and you can move on easily (most of the time)!! As I raised my children and now am helping teach my grandchildren, our society needs to remember that old “Golden Rule” … “we teach people how to treat us by the way we treat them”!!! I have always told my kids, it is just as easy to find the good, as it is to keep staring at the bad…and, like you, Dr. Phil, knowing your childhood struggles, I raised my family alone because their father was an alcoholic & didn’t participate so there was quite a bit of “bad” to stare at!!! Kindness is indeed a virtue people need to remember how to share!! Those two “hotheads” on that plane need an intervention!! Thanks for listening!!

  29. Sarah says:

    Look, in a way I understand. My first job was in a Library traineeship where I was bullied all the time by my supervisor. I stuck it out for a full year but with the stress and depression that came from the bullying, I did a pretty awful job. I think that would have been a sweet moment if I’d said ‘Enough! Stop it! I’ve had enough.’ and walk away with a beer or something… it would have felt so damn good. And it wouldn’t have mattered as far as future work in my case- my supervisor’s bullying, and the lack of support I had, created a bad work environment and so I didn’t do my best. The fact that I’d stuck it out for the full year contract didn’t count for a thing in the end.

    This wasn’t a problem with a supervisor though, this was with a customer. Those of us who work in customer service are trained to deal with difficult customers. If he felt like he was going to loose it or was mistreated by the customer, he had other better safer options than to verbally abuse her back and then leave the plane. He could have gone to a co-worker, in private, and explain the situation, maybe swap areas of the plane if possible. Called security on the passenger would have worked best- she hit him on the head!

    I suppose it’s a stressful time right now. The smartest move for him would be to write a book on ‘Workplosion- how to recognise the signs before you workplode.’

  30. suzanne welch says:

    steven slater was assualted and he reacted back, fair play end of.

  31. AD says:

    I think he should be left alone- I’m sure he already lost his job. It’s more disgusting how media was already quoting people who purportedly “knew” Slater and using his myspace page to draw conclusions. They’re the ones who made him known enough to be a hero or not, otherwise how on earth would “everyone” have heard of him. He had a rough day, the passenger was clearly out of line and he’d had it. I don’t think he hurt or endgangered anyone and although his words probably weren’t “thank you for flying JetBlue” as the script calls for, people should not be ablt to go to jail for cussing other people out.

  32. Gary says:

    Look here, no harm, no foul! What’s going on? Nobody got hurt. All this “coulda, woulda, what if someone got hurt”. Well they didn’t. So it’s stupid to assume they did. Why is an example being made out of Steven Slater? Because that’s what this is about. No one got hurt when the slide shot out – the only thing that was hurt was Jet Blue’s ego. It’s the INTENT behind Steven’s act that has JetBlue so mad. Had the slide opened by accident, or an actual emergency, nobody would have been prosecuted if someone was hurt. So the only difference here is the intent that they want to prosecute, which shows their little feelings got hurt and embarrassed.

  33. Judy says:

    Apply this scenario to other people who work in contact with the public: doctors, nurses, clerks, teachers, etc. Would their behavior be lauded if they reacted in a similar way? How did Mr. Slater’s behavior affect other passengers on the plane, especially children and teens? In focusing on just Mr. Slater and the rude passenger, we are forgetting all other passengers who were aboard the plane. Did Mr. Slater have any responsibility to them?

  34. Odd-Petter Tanke Jensen says:

    hi, i think he did the rigth thing. noe one should react like that, but many passasgers are angry, not tollareded or werry demainded. so i think he did the rigth think and he should never be in jail for that, never.
    i hope he soon as possible will be free man again and get a new job:)

    drea form
    Odd-Petter Tanke Jensen

  35. Tim McFadden says:

    If the letter of the law says in respect to the conduct of service workers that they must hold themselves to a set of rules and laws they must conduct themselves by and these rules and laws, and if they are leaglelly bound by state and federal guide lines in the air and on company grounds or airport property, then the person must if the federal courts and state courts say he must pay for what he did.Do The Crime, Do The Time.

  36. mark91345 says:

    Atrocious behavior deserves atrocious consequences. Look, I’ve been in that position of hating my job and wanting to quit, in a dramatic way, but that’s not what adults do. I understand how people can “drive you crazy”, but making everyone listen to a vulgarity-filled rant, stealing beers, and opening an emergency chute (at the cost of $25,000 to replace) is not the way to express one’s job dissatisfaction.

    I don’t feel that prison time is a great solution, as that seems excessive; however, American airports have been under very tight security procedures since 9/11, and his ridiculous behavior should not go unpunished either.

  37. onno256 says:

    Hi There,

    Spoiled people can be infuriating, especially nowadays when people can too easily get what they want (often before they get themselves into trouble). The lady was wrong, and should have been removed from the plane, if she cannot behave herself in a public place, she must be rejected for the safety of the other passengers.

    What he did was understandable, but stupid, and did not solve anything.

    I believe he should be fined for the damages, and be left alone.

    She should be fined for abuse and aggression, otherwise she is going to repeat this behaviour. I mean; would You like to sit next to such a woman?

    Onno out,

  38. Brad says:

    I think he should serve some time in jail! If I blew up at my job and cursed on a Public Address system I have no doubt that I would be locked up. Why does this jerk deserve to be treated like some sort of celebrity for his un acceptable behavior?

  39. Linda RH says:

    Slater certainly deserves consequences for his actions. Whether that involves jail time, a fine, or both, is not for me to say. I’m not up on the dangers of deploying rescue chutes of planes.
    However, I think he has done Jet Blue a huge favor in that they can rightfully deny him his old job back, he is obviously not suited for the position. He may have saved them from finding this out under worse conditions.
    In the long run, I think Mr Slater will find the the most damage was done to himself, by himself. Every potential employer in the country now knows his name, his face, and his temperament.

  40. Brenda says:

    It is regrettable that the flight attendant had a melt-down. However, he should not be glorified and glamorized. His job requires nerves of steel, and he wasn’t up to it. It could have caused a bad accident if a baggage handler or some other airline employee had been outside on the tarmac when he popped the emergency chute.

  41. crystal says:

    This story just goes to show the direction the “younger” generations are headed. Immediate gratification. No one wants to be “uncomfortable” anymore, not even for a second. There are millions of people who are struggling to find work and this guy who had a great job just threw it all away because he chose to react in an ugly way. I hope someone deserving gets his spot. Yeah, the passenger may have been extremely rude, but we chose how to respond to people – they are not responsible for our actions/reactions. I think he should be punished if he in fact did put people in danger. He was on an airplane for goodness sake! He was trained to keep people comfortable and safe on an aircraft, and he blew it. If I were his wife (not sure if he’s married or not) I would be SOOOO upset with him!

  42. Sara says:

    Was he assaulted? Or did he just flip out and have a meltdown? Whatever really happened, whoever did wrong needs consequences for their behavior. Including JetBlue if they created any kind of a hostile work environment and expected Mr Slater or anyone else to just ‘deal’ with it.

    Too many American businesses treat their employees like crap, esp now that there are so many good people unemployed. HR knows how to strategically create situations that back up whatever management does to any employee, including harassing/firing victims while protecting any and all workplace perpetrators.

    Soooo many business and other ”leaders” in America wouldn’t know ethics if it hit them in the face. Why not?? Since when did it become ”manly” or ”powerful” to break every law they can get away with breaking… instead of behaving with truth, honor, decency, respect…

    Why won’t our ”leaders” be people worthy of our kids to look up to now…?

  43. Paul Wheeler says:

    He is not a Hero. I think they are all in Afghanistan and Iraq. What ever happened to Mr. Slater, his response was disproportionate to the situation. His reaction and behavior it is more representative of a tantruming child.

  44. Karen Kilpatrick says:

    Well firstly, I thought you had a photo of Paul Potts! Looks so much like him in that photo anyway.

    Slater is in a service industry. Unfortunately you have to put up with a lot of cr@p and you are trained to suck it up. He’d obviously had more than his fair share of it. Thank goodness he had his tantrum on the ground and NOT in the air. Maybe a tribunal will find he was pushed beyond reasonable limits, in which case there would be “extenuating circumstances” and he would pay accordingly.

    I think the poor guy needs some anger management techniques from Dr Phil!!!

    Greeting from South Africa!

  45. michelle says:

    Being in customer service for many years, we csr’s really have to put up with a lot of crap. We hear all the excuses, hear all the yelling,screaming, and insults and are expected to apologize (which we do with a smile)for things we had nothing to do with. Nobody reads the fine-print, and everybody thinks they are entitled to something for nothing. People never want to fess up to their mistakes.This type of job gets really frustrating. I can understand someone blowing up but that was a tad overboard.

  46. Alicia says:

    This is an issue of being accountable for ones actions and which behaviors are allowed in today’s society. This world is getting more and more rude because there is no appropriate punishment associated to an action or behavior.

    In this case, there seems to be wrong actions in many areas and each part should be addressed, 1) airlines charge a fee for each bag a passenger checks so people are forced to bring more on the plane, making it more cramped and easier for people to accidentally hit anyone, 2) the lady insulted and was blatantly rude to a flight attendant, and 3) Slater should not have put passengers or anyone on the ground any harm, nor should he have caused the flight to be more delayed.

    I think appropriate responses to these actions and behaviors should be 1) go back to not charging for checked bags and strictly enforcing what is allowed on the plane, 2) rude passengers who insult and physically hurt a staff member should be removed from the plane to chill out while he/she waits for another available flight, 3) Slater should be fired and not be allowed to work as a flight attendant for another airline again because of his exaggerated response and for putting people in danger, as well as for delaying the flight.

  47. Jean says:

    I work in HR, so this touches a nerve with me. While I don’t think anyone should be treated poorly – in life, which includes our work life – I think Steven’s response was inappropriate. He stooped to the level of the passenger that treated him badly. How can you expect a professional, constructive response, when you act in such an unprofessional way. I get the fact that this pushed his button and he reacted. But the attention shifted from the real issue here – the passenger’s behavior. Was that Steven’s intent? If so, then he has the limelight as he wanted and nothing constructive is being done to prevent passengers from behaving this way towards flight attendants. That is wrong!

  48. Julie from OZ says:

    Hi Dr. Phil,
    I don’t think That Steven should go to jail. Even with all the training in the world, there is only so much crap that one human can take. I have worked in customer service for the last 15 years and I am now 31. Over the last 5 years, It has become harder to retain a high level of customer service when you are constantly abused, or put down daily generally to circumstances beyond our control. The mentality in Australia has changed and persons believe that any one in the customer service industry is a servant and should be treated accordingly. Should this pattern of behaviour from the public continue, I can forsee more instances such as Stevens. I don’t believe what he did should be rewarded, but certainly shouldn’t be punished….. It’s time for HUMANS to bring back thier manners!

  49. Barbara says:

    Steven Slater is NO hero! His job was to provide customer service which means “sucking it up” when you encounter the not so nice public. What a shame that anyone would use his name and hero in the same sentence.

  50. Angela says:

    I believe he probably had a bit of an emotional breakdown and huge lapse in judgement, however I do not believe jail time is deserved. I think he should be suspended and made to get some counseling until he is better.

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