Steven Slater, the former JetBlue flight attendant who became a folk hero for disgruntled service employees after he told a plane full of passengers to kiss his grits before escaping down the plane’s emergency chute because of a dispute with a passenger, has been ordered to attend a year-long mental health program in exchange for skating on felony charges.
Slater pled guilty to two counts of criminal mischief in a Queens, NY courtroom Tuesday morning, stemming from his dramatic exit from his job with the cheapie airline last August.
The veteran flight attendant, 38 must also receive substance and alcohol abuse counseling as part of his plea deal. Slater was also ordered to reimburse JetBlue $10,000 to cover the costs of repairing the emergency chute. If Steven complies, a prison sentence of one to three years will be withdrawn.
Steven, who is HIV-positive, says he was distraught over his own morality and the failing health of his terminally-ill mother when he blew a gasket and flew into Full Bitch Mode on an allegedly abusive passenger whose luggage reportedly fell from an overhead compartment and whacked the steward over the head. The passenger — who has never been identified — refused to apologize and a shouting match ensued. The melee ended with Slater quitting his job over the loudspeaker, cursing out the passengers, grabbing a couple of beers, and sliding down the aircraft’s emergency chute at New York’s JFK airport.
Run and tell that, Homeboy.
“The defendant finally has recognized the seriousness of his actions and is willing to accept responsibility,” says Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said, adding that the sentence “fairly balances the seriousness of the charges against the need for the defendant’s rehabilitation.”
Don’t cry for Steven — the sassy steward’s already cashing in on his story. He’s set to appear in what’s being billed as his first television interview with CNN’s exiting primetime gabfest Larry King Live. The interview will air Oct. 26.