"I'm relieved and rested and had a lot on my plate," Slater Said as he rolled down his car window.
Exactly what happened on JetBlue Flight 1052 is still in dispute. But that didn't stop filmmakers in Tawain from reimagining the incident, complete with confrontation and escape exit.
"He said, 'blank blank. And blank you,'" said passenger Katie Dobler. "'And thanks for 28 great years.'"
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He's become a folk hero to some, surprising even himself as he told the New York Times Wednesday.
"For 20 years, I thought about it," Slater told the New York Times. "But you never think you're going to do it."
There's no denying the chord he's struck. From 100,000 Facebook fans to the "Free Steven Slater" T-shirts. There's even a song with the lyrics, "Flight attendant and hero of the working man ..."
It's even reached into the White House where Press Secretary Robert Gibbs made a tongue and cheek reference to Slater.
"There's no truth to the rumor that I've added an inflatable exit to my office," said Gibbs.
So far, JetBlue is trying to play this for laughs too, writing on their blog, "Sometimes the weird news is about us…you can't make this shtick up."
But anger on the job is real. According to a recent survey, job satisfaction is the worst it's been in two decades.
"He really is a symbol and a representation of people's frustration in the workplace," said clinical psychologist Katherine Muller.
But prosecutors aren't so understanding. They say his impulsive exit could have hurt someone on the ground. And for that, he's no hero.