1. Take this job and shove it.
The #1 spot in our countdown goes to the man who exited a plane with the greatest flare of drama and sass.
This story takes us back to August 2010 onboard a JetBlue flight which had just landed at JFK airport in New York. An argument between two passengers that had apparently begun during the flight’s departure from Pittsburg erupted again when the flight landed in New York. An impatient passenger got up from her seat to retrieve her luggage from the overhead compartment while the plane was still taxiing down the runway.
Flight attendant (and my personal hero), Steven Slater, approached the passenger and asked her to take a seat. Rather than complying with the safety regulations and taking her seat the passenger (accidentally? maliciously?) hit Slater on the head with her luggage. He demanded an apology but the passenger allegedly replied with profanity.
And here’s where the story gets good. Rather than replying to the passenger directly Slater opted to make a public announcement over the intercom. Slater maintains that he simply said “To those of you [who] have shown dignity and respect these last twenty years, thanks for a great ride.” However, other reports indicate that he offered a more expletive laden farewell ending with “I’ve had it. That’s it.”
Regardless of his choice of words it was the manner of his departure which brought him fame, even adoration. After grabbing his luggage and two beers from the galley, Slater opened the emergency exit and made a ridiculously fabulous exit down the slide. He hopped on the AirTrain shuttle which he rode to the employee parking lot then drove home where he was later arrested on charges of criminal mischief, criminal trespass and reckless endangerment. Despite the fact that he was facing up to seven years in prison if convicted, Slater had a huge smile on his face at the time of his arrest. He didn’t appear to regret his decision one bit. After dedicating his career to the airline industry from the age of 19 to 38, Slater made one hell of an exit.
As someone who has worked in the (sometimes brutal) customer service sector of the tourism industry for over 10 years I can’t say that I blame him one bit. Steven Slater, if I had one of your stolen beers from the airplane galley, I would raise a toast to you. No real harm was done and JetBlue had assured that no passengers or crew were ever in danger. Criminal Mischief? More like Mischief Managed.