The ballsy flight attendant who became a nation’s hero after evacuating the JetBlue plane in style, down an emergency chute, made a soft landing in court this morning where he escaped a prison sentence, but was fined a hefty sum!
38 year-old Steven Slater will have to pay his former employer $10,000 in restitution to contribute towards the cost of his expensive, yet theatrical, exit.
Prosecutors claimed that Mr Slater was not only angry at a passenger when his tirade began, but that he was also drunk and suffering from mental problems.
At the time when he was arrested, the trolley dolly was charged with numerous offences, including criminal mischief and reckless endangerment – and faced the prospect of spending up to seven years behind bars.
But his shenanigans led the rebel to become a public hero for put-upon workers everywhere, leading prosecutors to offer him a plea deal in exchange for a more lenient punishment.
Mr Slater, who resigned last month after being suspended by JetBlue, claims he cracked under the pressure because of health problems and his terminally ill mother.
After claiming a passenger had treated him rudely, Slater launched into a foul-mouthed outburst over the public address system before grabbing himself a cold beer and sliding down the emergency chute onto the tarmac.
He admitted pulling the emergency chute at Kennedy Airport in New York after the JetBlue flight touched down from Pittsburgh.
Queens District Attorney, Richard Brown, told the court: ‘Mr Slater felt somewhat humiliated after what he perceived as degrading working conditions, and he had a level of rage at the time that was perhaps exacerbated by alcohol intoxication and maybe some other contributing stress factors.’
‘As a result, I think he overreacted when he was confronted by what he perceived as a rude passenger.’
On activating the escape chute, Mr Brown said it ‘was no laughing matter’, and he criticised Mr Slater, and the public, for not taking his actions more seriously.
He said it cost $25,000 to fix the slide and that the plane had to be taken out of service, causing flight delays.
Following his hearing, Mr Slater spoke out, and without excusing his actions, said: ‘At the end of the day, I’m a grown-up and I must take responsibility for my actions.’