Take this job and…whee!

Published 8:46 am Thursday, August 12, 2010

If there is a name in the news you’ll soon be familiar with it is Steven Slater.

Slater is a now, undoubtedly, a suspended flight attendant for JetBlue, who lost his cool dealing with a not-so-nice passenger on Monday.

While the airplane was taxiing to the gate after a flight from Pittsburgh, Pa. to JFK in New York, the passenger apparently left her seat and began to retrieve luggage from the overhead compartment.

According to news reports, Slater told the passenger to sit down and then somehow was struck in the head by the passenger’s luggage. An argument ensued between Slater and passenger. The flight attendant then proceeded to the P.A. system on the plane and cussed out the passenger.

And then, to top it all off, Slater made the ultimate egress and, reportedly, grabbed a couple of beers and exited the plane via the emergency slide. He walked across the tarmac, leaving through an unlocked door to the employee parking lot, got into his vehicle and drove to his home in Queens.

Slater was arrested soon after and charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing. He bail was set at $2,500 on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Slater’s defense attorney gave another account of the story, saying the problems with the unruly passenger began before the plane took off in Pittsburgh. According to Slater’s attorney, the passenger got into an argument with another female passenger concerning the overhead compartment bin and that’s when Slater was struck in the head with the luggage.

While some people disagree with the way Slater acted, some are coming to his defense. In fact a Facebook page has already been created for him and had more than 50,000 supporters as of Tuesday evening.

When I heard about the incident on the Today Show, I couldn’t help but laugh. Really, it’s just another day in the life of a New Yorker—you push too far, we’re going to snap in all dramatic flair possible.

And the guy seems to have some class—he reportedly did it all with a smile on his face.

Let’s face it, customers and, plainly, people in general are becoming more and more discourteous and uncouth each day. While it was Slater’s responsibility to maintain his composure, it was the passenger’s responsibility to abide by in-flight policy, not to mention to act like a human being with manners instead of some zoo animal that is being transported from one city to another.

Americans, in general, seem to be spoiled by living in a free country. Somehow civil and basic rights have been transformed into the thoughts that we are entitled to anything we desire. Unfortunately, when someone questions that “entitled” way of thinking we suddenly transform into raging two-year-olds.

There are definitely some among us that need to be taught a life lesson or two and all too often it takes public displays like this to make people realize just how disgusting they sometimes act.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.