I’m sure by now that almost everyone has heard about Steven Slater, the Jet Blue flight attendant. Is he a working class hero or just a dramatic employee that got on a roll and took it a little too far?
I waited tables for many years – Hell, I came to LA to act, and so by default I was destined to be a waitress. I also worked in Downtown Frederick at Olde Towne, Donnelly’s, out on Route 40 at Tully’s…just to name a few places. I’m sure that former co-workers or customers that were regulars mixed opinions as to how I was as a waitress or bartender.
I think I was mostly a decent hard-working girl, but there were times I would have my own little freak out and have a go at saying what I truly thought about someone. I’m lucky I never lost a job because I could verbally berate with the best of them. I was known to have thrown a thirty-five cent tip at a woman on Market Street during the lunch hour (she didn’t like her lunch, and requested we reimburse her. Yet she licked the plate clean and even ate the kale). I also kicked a plate at a customer here in LA because he was being rude, not only to me, but to his wife as well (I was clearing their table and he was mad I did not take his plate and he proceeded to slide it across the floor at me during the dinner rush. Like I’m not going to kick it back? Duh. I grew up on the Eastern Shore!).
Were these moments my finest hour? Nope. Things I’m proud of…well, depends on the day I’m telling the story in all honesty. My common thread? These things happened when I was in my twenties; the age where you think you are a grown up and sometimes we don’t handle things with class.
Mr. Slater, I get it. You are a 38 year-old man that was mad because of some woman and her attitude toward you. I’ve heard you were hit in the head with luggage and slammed with a door. Either way, it was terrible what happened but it could have been handled better. For all we know, maybe something else was going on in your world and you were trying to hold it together due to your own personal circumstances, as we all do in times of crisis. But we all have to go to work or keep going in our lives no matter what the situation. Not all of us have the luxury of a rant, grabbin’ some beers and hitting the road.
Recently, I was flying from BWI to LAX on a Delta flight where I had not one, but two flight attendants treat me so poorly, that I fought the urge to get up and go into their little kitchen area and write down their names so I could write a complaint letter. I took it the way of zen-ness and said “Screw it, not worth it” and put on my headphones and watched a movie. I also flew last year from London to LA with two small children on an American Airlines flight where I was treated like it was my fault I was juggling two kids. I’m not a Mom and I was doing a balancing act like no other (God BLESS the Mothers of the world out there!!! And the ones that fly!!) and the amount of patience and kindness I got equals to a sum total of zero.
Yes, Mr. Slater, I would have loved to have freaked out and grabbed my food tray and thrown it to get some kind of attention or had the benefit of a cool Bond-like escape route to make my “grand exit”, but I didn’t. Why? Well, cause even though I don’t consider myself mature, I do consider myself an adult. I aim everyday to make the best decisions I can at this point in my life. I know now that sometimes, in some situations, it’s best to let it go and walk away. Karma has an amazing way of showing up when you least expect it and always seems to take care of things for you.
My cousin brought up a point that someone could have been hurt when he deployed his air mattress or whatever the hell it was he used to get out of the plane. I was laughing about it at the time, but you know what? She’s right. This man is no hero. Now, the Captain of the U.S. Airways flight that landed in the Hudson, that man…Sully? He’s a hero. The men that go to war for us everyday, whether they are soldiers or police officers, or firemen? And our teachers, Moms, Dads? Those folks are heroes.
A disgruntled, fed up man that should have been a drama major and needs a good therapist so he can work out his issues? NOT A HERO. Although, once a month, I can truly relate.
Mr. Slater, you have a long way to go before you can fill shoes like the ones on the heroes I mentioned. I suggest you start getting out there and trying some on for size. Then email me and I’ll point you in the direction of a good therapist.