N.Y. flight attendant Steven Slater's angry exit wins fans

Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:17pm EDT
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By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, who stormed off his job this week with some profanities and a dramatic exit down an inflated emergency chute, has struck a chord with nearly everyone who has dreamed of quitting a job in anger.

"Free Steven Slater" t-shirts are on sale, an animated reenactment of Monday's exchange between Slater and a passenger at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport has become an online hit, and musicians are writing ballads in homage to the fed-up flight attendant.

Websites are soliciting "I quit" stories, and bloggers are rhapsodizing about the new folk hero, the focus of more than a dozen fan pages on the Facebook social media site.

Friday, August 13, has been declared Steve Slater Day according to one Facebook page that encourages celebrants to pull a fire alarm or "tell a schmuck at work to piss off."

But once the amusement wears off, experts caution, 'pulling a Slater,' as the new saying goes, is not a very good idea.

"Obviously he's tapped into a pretty pervasive emotion," said Jonathan Berent, author of the upcoming book "Work Makes Me Nervous."

"There's so much frustration and anger about the economic climate, the unfairness of things and dealing with stress in the workplace," Berent said.

But he added: "Unless this guy had some master game plan of how to cultivate his 15 minutes of fame, he's in big trouble."   Continued...