Thursday, September 23, 2010

Steven Slater's Distaste For My Article Written About Him

There are times when I absolutely lose it and go off the wall due to whatever and say things I don’t necessarily mean. I’ve had my 17th nervous breakdown about 100 times and understand those who are at their wits' end. Even in my book I published back in 2005 explains that I am a work in progress; that I’m not perfect and that I’m still trying to grasp life’s lessons as much as I can. With that being said, I am also very opinionated and hold strong to my beliefs on certain issues or topics. There are things I highly disagree with, but it certainly does not mean I am not forgiving nor “mean-spirited” due to the way I express myself. I say it like it is without any apologies, and at times, maybe a few apologies pop out if the person is hurt over my jagged edged words. My sisters sometimes describe it as "Deb's poison pen". I do sometimes go overboard, but never leaning back thinking otherwise. I will lessen the blow, but hold on to what I believe in, unless of course, there’s a different side to the story or perhaps, a change of heart for whatever reason.

This morning Steven Slater had written me a lengthy comment on my post entitled, “What a Drama Queen!” His comment was very to the point and also made me wonder if his story is dramatically different from what the media had posed it to be. See, we never did get to hear Steven Slater’s “voice” - we never got to see what Steven Slater actually said, other than what the media fed us. My biggest problem about this story is that Steven ‘let loose’ on a plane filled with people who were scared to death to begin with. To me, he terrorized people by “having a moment”, as we all do from time to time. Location location location! Going nuts in public takes on a new set of responsibilities. Going nuts on a plane or “having a moment”, I should say, is absolutely terrorizing. As a reputable part of JetBlue’s employee, he should have known better. And sometimes, in life, we all should have known better.

Steven Slater commented:

"This book is for you. It deals with forgiveness, relationships, anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues and how to love others unconditionally. It shows that even though we will never be perfect, God's love for us will always be. It focuses on not judging others--to let God be the only judge." -Deb



My what a fascinating read this blog was! I do find it intriguing that so many people, who were not aboard the aircraft, and have only second hand, hearsay information from the infallible New York Post et al, have become so well- informed and intuitive about my situation! Debra, must say I found your blog to be quite incongruous with the values you claim to represent. i,e. healing, compassion, etc. In fact I do recall reading the words "unconditional love" in your author's bio. Having never met, nor even having spoken with you, I would believe it safe to say that neither of us are in a position to speak of one another's motives or nature. Perhaps we will one day be afforded the opportunity to sit down and get to know each other and perhaps humanize this whole story. Who knows, we may find we have things in common and may even empathize with one another. As of now, you have seen only a two dimensional character as created by the media. I can assure you, I am indeed, three dimensional, and there are many facets to this story that you and other bloggers are yet to be privy to. I do hope you might take a moment to reflect upon the fact that the words you write do reach far, and do have effect on those who read them. Such unnecessary reproach is nothing I can't handle, but does have an troubling effect on my loved ones who are wounded by the meanspirited and often erroneous things they read about me. While it is so easy to play Monday morning Quarterback from behind a computer screen, supposition is no replacement for responsible journalism, which includes fact based reporting and sufficient investigation to warrant credibilty. I would greatly appreciate the courtesy of your reserving comment (only in your public forum, of course) until such time as all sides of this have been heard.


Steven Slater

Belle Harbor, NY"

In response:


Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I think it’s great you wrote back and maybe we can get a chance to hear your side of the story. I agree, that the media feeds us a lot of what we ‘want to hear’ and less about the actual story at hand. My only problem is that your outburst was on a plane filled with scared people. Everyone that boards a plane is scared to some degree. Was it true that you had an outburst on the pane? If so, then my opinions and disagreement about your actions still hold strong. Do I understand it? Of course I do. You did the one thing most people would love to do, but usually, we think about the consequences. Most of us have outbursts on a lesser scale, affecting only a few people at a time.

I can’t imagine what you must go through within a day’s work. I can’t imagine people complaining over the smallest things, from peanuts to a martini made the wrong way. Tons of people fly with you, and those very people are filled up to the brim with anxiety in most cases. Your job is one of the hardest jobs: the training that went along with it, dealing with the public and of course, perhaps conflicts with your co-workers as well. I don’t know. I’m not in your shoes, however, I can say that if anyone knows what it’s like to have an outburst, it’s me. I’ve felt it, dealt it, and sometimes would shut down for days at a time. I have anxiety that leads into depression. When I get my anxiety attacks, I’m high strung and at times, offensive. My outbursts are uncalled for and many times, my apologies are well received, thank God. I’m not perfect. Neither are you. With that being said, I have had many backlashes to those outbursts as well. I have had people write about me, slander me and also even went as far to humiliate me through other medias because of my actions.

I think we have a lot in common. We’re both articulate and opinionated, and of course, we both can only handle so much in life. I get it, I really do. I know that you weren’t the one to call yourself a “hero” - your fans did. I disagree with them: nobody is a hero for having a breakdown in a public place. A hero is someone who saves people’s lives or helps those in need. I’m certainly no hero for having my own little breakdowns. I totally agree that I only see a two dimensional character. I’d like to see the three dimensional character of Steven Slater, which is why I’m sincerely asking you to tell your side of the story on my blog. I want the media to see the truth. I want people to see the “real” person behind the “nutcase” or in your fans’ view, the “hero”. With that being said, you had stated, ‘...supposition is no replacement for responsible journalism which includes fact based reporting and sufficient investigation to warrant credibility.’ This is a blog, Steven, and if anyone uses blog articles as “credible news sources”, then that’s their fault. I’ve obtained my information from the New York Times as well as other “credible” sources. The stories were all the same. Just because I have an open opinion on what was ‘supposedly’ done, proves to be my right to freedom of speech. Blogs are opinionated and sometimes offensive. I encourage everyone to get their news sources from credible networks and newspapers, not blogs.

Maybe some light needs to be shed on your story. Most people haven’t even heard your voice or your side of the story. Would you be willing to take some time and tell us what really happened on a broader & much more personal scale? You seem to be an intelligent and fascinating guy who I’d definitely befriend on a personal basis. With that being said, I also disagree with many of which my own friends do, and vise/versa. We’re only human. And, like the last line of my article about you says: 'I guess it’s safe to say we can all be "heros" from time to time.' I hope you do consider writing a post for me on my website. Thank you for taking the time to write to me.

Warmest regards, 



Enemy of the Republic said...

I don't know about Steven Slater, so I don't know what he is. I read both of your posts. You have the right to express yourself as you know. I will give Mr. Slater credit for signing his name. I get so many people who hate what I write, assume it is about them, then come up with a false profile to respond. You named Mr. Slater, so he knew it was about him, and he, in turn, named himself. I rarely see this on the internet. It's refreshing to see people honestly disagree rather than take nasty shots at each other under the guise of anonymous or fake profiles.

Deb said...

Thanks, Enemy,

I think a lot of what the media puts out there is probably 60% truth, others are definitely hearsay, however with reputable sources, I'd like to think I have the right to my own personal opinion. I can relate to Steven very much and respect that he signed his name... I'm very appreciative for that.

Since I have had the comment moderation up, I have been getting very obscene and sometimes, threatening comments under "anonymous". This last vicious one I got this morning was about my family. I don't care what they say or what they think, but do they even have a clue that their location is shown once they visit a blog? I find it funny. And, it's ALL from the same person. I get a ton of them from one person who absolutely is either obsessed (from the sexual comments) or just despises me for whatever reasons...Let them go anonymous, it only shows more cowardliness than anything else. I know you have similar issues with comments and I respect your ways of handling them.

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Xmichra said...

I didn't comment on the post you refer to here, and I think it was because I am hesitant to comment on things I have no clue about. I hadn't even heard anything about that story, so I just reserved comment.

I'm learning ;)

Anyway, Not to do with the opinions expressed, but the tone. I thought that it was really brave for Steven to say what he did, in a polite way, and sign his name. I never have seen that in a blog forum. EVER. So huge kuddos for that!

I still have no idea about the story here, and likely won't go looking into it, but I think it speaks volumes that Steven was willing to write to you, and not in a hateful way. Does it make the sittuation which happened make more sense? maybe. Not from where i sit (in the dark, that is), but maybe to someone.

Deb said...

I agree, Xmichra, Steven was very brave to write to me and sign his name. At the same time and in the same breath, I don't think what he did on that plane was brave, nor to be considered a "hero". I've had those types of moments too, and for me, in my very own opinion, those moments have characterized me as a "coward" more so than a hero. I just would like to know where people's mindsets are when they think of the word "hero". Steven Slater may be a great guy and intelligent at that, but we all have our moments. I just don't understand the "hero" part of it... Maybe we're all at the brink of insanity...

nycflyer said...

A big THANK YOU to Deb for your thoughtful consideration of my earlier comments! Isn't it refreshing to be able to discuss freely a difference of perception or opinion while still maintaining respect for one another? I really appreciate the opportunity, and for your gracious invitation to share more with you via your blog. I look forward to doing so once I am in a more suitable place in my ongoing legal situation to do so.
I admit I was hesitant, alright, scared really, to reply to the original blog, as I am so dismayed and disappointed by the degree of nastiness and uncivilized behavior we all to often see on the internet. Thanks for giving me back a little faith! I never understood the mentality of those who believe that the cloak of anonymity afforded by the internet allows for a complete disregard if social graces. Words hurt as much with a name attached as without. Reading that you have been receiving hurtful messages from someone makes me sad, and I am so sorry to hear you are going through that. I suppose the best tack is to take the higher road, but when they involve our loved ones, the dynamics change. I do hop that is resolved quickly and with permanence. Stay strong! Again, many thanks and much appreciation for you and your work.

Steven Slater
Belle Harbor, NY

Deb said...


Well I was quite surprised you commented on it since you do have to be monitored a bit more carefully re: legal matters and such, which is why I tried contacting you through another source hoping that this wasn’t a hoax. You’re absolutely right regarding the ability of anonymity, because it enables weak-minded people to become big bullies on the net, as the one who has been leaving me nasty messages about me as well as my family. You have to keep in mind though, the ones who talk the most negative about you are your biggest fans. Is it flattering? I don’t know, but I will say this: once people see that you’re in a place they wish they had been in, it does become more complicated and much more insulting in most cases. Look at your case ---look at how many people admired what you’ve done. Now, I do still hold the same opinion ---wrong place but yes, we do break out from time to time on the brink of insanity. I still think that the “hero” status is off the mark. I’d rather think you were a hero before the incident, rather than after or because of the incident. When legal matters are aside, please contact me if you’d like to write your side of the story.

Thanks again for responding and being so open about everything.

Ashlie Atkinson said...

I have followed this exchange with great interest, and applaud both parties for keeping it all friendly-like.
Deb, you stated earlier: "My only problem is that your outburst was on a plane filled with scared people. Everyone that boards a plane is scared to some degree." From what I understand (and, granted, this is from such vaunted sources as the internet and the New York media), Mr. Slater was hit on the head by a passenger's bag after telling the woman it was unsafe to be up and opening the overhead compartment at that time in the flight. She (in my own understanding) flipped out, and called Mr. Slater some obscenities. Mr. Slater then waited UNTIL THE PLANE HAD LANDED before saying his goodbyes and popping the chute. I feel, personally, that people on a plane that has safely, successfully landed are not subject to those feelings of fear that you commented on earlier. If that is in fact the case, that the plane was no longer in the air or moving, would you still stand by your original statement (which would have made sense in an airborne plane, a la John Stuart Mill's "spheres of influence"-- basically, I can act how I want as long as it does not infringe upon the rights and well-being of others), or agree with me that Mr. Slater's actions were unharmful to others?

Deb said...

Hi Ashlie,

Thanks for commenting & taking the time out to tell us your opinion.

Before responding in length to your comment, I first want to ask you why they still have not found the passenger who supposedly hit Steven, and/or dished out obscenities at him? There was no passenger that could be found, through every news network that I have seen this reported on.

Being on a plane, whether up in the sky or landed still instills fear for the passengers. And even if a passenger did get riled up, Steven is a professional flight attendant there to protect his other passengers from any potential harm. I still see it as "terror" for the others watching.

But, again, where is this so called passenger?

Ashlie Atkinson said...

I can't tell you where the passenger is (not being a private detective or investigate journalist), but it seems to me that you are changing horses midstream in this discussion. Your initial issue seemed to be about the fear instilled in the passengers, and their safety. When I questioned the legitmacy of your concerns (not of your opinion, mind you, you are completely entitled to that), considering that the passengers were waiting to disembark when Mr. Slater decided he had had enough, you then chose to call into question whether the catalyst for this situation even existed.

Honestly, I don't know what to say to that. If I was that grumpy passenger, facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines, I'm not sure I would be so quick to come forth either.

As a white knuckle flyer of the first degree, I want to reiterate that the only time I am NOT afraid while on a plane is when we the plane has landed and we are disembarking.

For your perusal, I include a first-hand account of what certain passengers were feeling during Mr. Slater's "tirade":

Thank you again for such intelligent and spirited discussion!

Deb said...

Hey Ashlie,

First of all, thank you for verifying it was you. :)

No, not changing the topic "dramatically", however focusing more on your thoughts about the angry passenger. Sorry if it came across as dodging it.

Like I said before, I still think there was fear instilled. First off, the article you have given me quotes this: "It was when we stood up to disembark -- in those annoying moments when everyone is waiting to be released from the metal can we've been packed in together -- that Steven Slater commandeered the PA system and issued his rant. I didn't take notes so the following is not exact, but a paraphrase: "F--- you! F--- all of you! I'm f------ through with this! I'VE HAD IT! I've been doing this for 28 f------ years and I can't take it anymore. And for the f----- a-----who told me to f--- off: f--- you! That's it! I'm done! F--- you all!"

----Now, not for nothing, but speaking on a personal basis and being from New York, seeing that terrorism struck our very soil by means of hijacking a plane, this terrifies me greatly. For one, I suffer from panic attacks, so right off the bat, I am freaked the hell out as it is. Now if someone gets on the PA and starts rambling off obscenities going off the wall----I would totally pass out and I know many other who would, however I can only speak for myself right now.

As nice and intelligent as Mr. Slater is, I also believe that we all have moments of insanity. With that being said, as smart as he is, he should have just reserved himself a bit longer, go out with the boys to a pub and blow off some steam. I guess everyone's method is different.

I also disagree with what the article says: "Overall, it got me to thinking: in a way it's a shame things like this don't happen more often. "

Really? I mean, either people love seeing others in emotional distress or just love the drama, I don't know...but I do know one thing, I'd feel safer on a plane without the drama. I understand it, I totally do, but speaking on a personal basis, I would have a panic attack.

I hope that makes better sense. I appreciate your thoughts and even giving me an article to read about this. I totally see your view, but I guess with my anxiety-prone self, it just makes me nervous.

Thanks, Ashlie! :)

Ashlie Atkinson said...

Thanks Deb, for responding. Did I say you changed topics "dramatically"? I didn't mean to if I did... I assume your use of quotes is referring to something I said?

I see your point, but I still think it's a case of "no harm, no foul". As a fellow New Yorker, I understand your fears, but I think one of our greatest strengths as Americans is our need to speak out when we have been wronged.

Deb said...


No, you didn't say I changed topics "dramatically", --quotes are used to emphasize -- you had said, "... but it seems to me that you are changing horses midstream in this discussion." Have I really changed the subject midstream? The whole entire conversation between us at first was based upon "the angry passenger" (using quotes once again to emphasize). There WAS no passenger as every news source indicated, which is why I "changed horses midstream" (yes that your quote now.)

However, in this day of age where more and more disgruntle employees are walking into the workplace and shooting everyone because they're "fed up", it's scary to see this even happen on a lesser scale. If you think that this was a good idea, than maybe I'm not the only one who needs a psychologist. (I advise the entire world to have one mind you.)

What would happen if someone did this at their place of work, and they started shouting out, ""F--- you! F--- all of you! I'm f------ through with this! I'VE HAD IT! I've been doing this for 28 f------ years and I can't take it anymore. And for the f----- a-----who told me to f--- off: f--- you! That's it! I'm done! F--- you all!"

My guess? You'll be on the unemployment line.

So while logically and sensibly, it doesn't make sense to go off the handle like that at your place of work, in my own personal opinion, it's absolutely insane to do this while there are either customers, or people who are onboard a plane and scare the sh%t out of them.

And, I totally get it. I do. But if people think more people should be doing this, they need therapy. I do apologize if you find this comment offensive, but I find it offensive that people think more people should be having insanity moments on an aircraft, or at their place of work, or in public---period. It's just scary.

If Steven Slater wants to reveal what really happened onboard that plane, I would love for him to write on my blog and give us an exclusive story after his legal matters are settled. He's lips have been sealed because of his attorney, I'm sure. I'm only basing my opinions on what we all have heard through the media.

By the way, I LOVED your role in "Rescue Me". Beautiful & talented! :)