Oh, what a difference a month makes. Back on August 9, the world heard tale of the wayward JetBlue flight attendant who lost it during an altercation with an angry passenger, deployed the emergency exit chute, grabbed two beers, and high-tailed it from the plane, which was parked on the tarmac at JFK. Our imaginations were captivated!
And then the backlash began.
On Wednesday Slater left his job, which he’d been suspended from. And today, after appearing in court, we hear via ABC News/Health that our erstwhile hero is to undergo a psych checkup.
In the halcyon days of August we could revel in the wacky news that some working dude had lost it (because haven’t we all lost it, to some extent, or really wanted to lose it?), give him our digital high-fives, wish we could be him. But now, come September, the rose-colored glasses are off. Because, you know, someone could have gotten hurt. And replacing that slide will cost a lot of money. Boo.
Slater, who will probably negotiate a plea (what happened to our “hero”?), has been charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, and criminal trespass for the incident. He may face up to seven years in prison.
Queens D.A. Richard Brown confirmed in a statement that Slater is being evaluated as part of the plea deal negotiations “for participation in an alternative-sentencing program to address possible mental health, stress related, alcohol abuse, and other issues.”
Slater’s mom is terminally ill, and his father recently died.
Further sapping any of the fun remaining in this story:
“I’ve been very much troubled by the fact that both the defendant and the media have been trivializing that which occurred,” said Brown. “Deploying an emergency escape chute on an aircraft filled with passengers is no laughing matter.”
Oh, but judge: That’s where you’re wrong! That’s the only part that’s still, just, awesome.
[via ABC News]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 7, 2010
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