Facebook fans “pull a Slater” in defense of rebel JetBlue flight attendant
Jet Blue Airways flight attendant Steven Slater lost his rocker on the job yesterday after landing at New York’s JFK airport. After a dispute with a passenger, Slater swore at the passenger over the intercom, grabbed a beer, opened the side emergency door of the passenger jet and slid down the bouncy, inflatable slide for a memorable get-away. That was yesterday. Today, he’s an idol to a rabidly supportive Facebook following and his actions, for which he’s been arrested, has been christened by bloggers as “pulling a Slater.”
The praise is most effusive on the Free Steven Slater Facebook page set up in his honor where he’s being hailed as “the greatest American Hero.” The nearly 9,000 fans are demanding his release. The barrage of posts on the wall are overwhelmingly positive, as it seems everyone can relate with not being able to take a crappy day. Funny enough, many posters are fellow flight attendants:
Meanwhile, the JetBlue Facebook page is facing a bit of an uproar with fans to either assist in the release of Steven Slater (not to worry: he has been released) or to give him another job. Some commenters (and this might not please the National Transportation Safety Board) feel Slater’s actions are laudable and show a regard for fellow passengers.
The Twitter effect of the Slater story was in full effect as well. Phil Catelinet, a passenger on board the flight, immediately tweeted the story to his 300 followers and then was invited to tell his story on ABC’s The Early Show the next morning. He has gone on to defend Slater’s rep on his blog as well.
Naturally, there are those saying what he did was illegal because, well, it was very illegal. Nonetheless, JetBlue is offering little comment on its social channels so far. However, it’s clear that the public’s attention is piqued as these re-Tweets show:
The Slater incident so far is not amounting to a PR crisis for JetBlue in the traditional sense. But its response will be well watched as the public has already weighed in: Slater is already a hero to the net’s chattering masses. If Slater gets the boot, then rude flyers (whom we all hate) win the day. Stay tuned.