Watch CBSN Live

Steven Slater: Working-Class Hero?

The JetBlue flight attendant who allegedly flipped out, arguing with a passenger on a plane Monday before making a grand exit down the emergency slide, is out on bail.

Though Steven Slater faces some serious charges, some people are elevating him to folk hero status, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.

She was outside Slater's home in the New York City borough of Queens, and a sign at the front of the house hailed him as a "hero."

PICTURES: Steven Slater

There's been plenty of buzz about Slater's "take this job and shove it" moment. By yesterday afternoon, more than 20-thousand people had gone on
Facebook to declare themselves Slater supporters.

But is he a hero -- or a just a common criminal?

After the $2,500 bail was posted, Slater, 38, walked out of a New York City lock-up to a crush of photographers.

When asked by a reporter if he's going to lose his job, Slater replied, "More than likely."

Earlier in the day, Slater was arraigned on charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing -- charges that could land him behind bars for seven years.

Meanwhile, details are emerging about what happened on JetBlue flight 1052.

At the start of the flight, in Pittsburgh, Slater intervened in an argument between two passengers about overhead luggage space.

Howard Turman, Slater's court-appointed attorney, told reporters, "They were shoving the luggage around. He came over to assist. She started cursing."

Last March, Slater wrote to an aviation website about how luggage issues were a pet peeve, "I hate to be a 'bag Nazi,' but when I work a flight, I feel if I am not, then I am letting down all those who cooperate."

After landing in New York, another incident: A female passenger cursed at Slater after he asked her to remain seated until the plane was parked at the gate. And that was when Slater allegedly lost it.

First, he quit his job over the plane's PA system and had a few choice words for a passenger.

Then, his now famous departure on the plane's evacuation chute. The district attorney told the judge Slater's actions could have injured or killed a member of the ground crew by releasing the powerful slide.

Cynthia Susanne, Slater's ex-wife, says he was provoked.

"I find it more offensive that this passenger isn't being put on trial than Steven being put on trial," she said.

The friendly skies aren't what they used to be, Miller notes. The Federal Aviation Administration has cited 3,166 incidents of passengers illegally interfering with the duties of a flight crew since 1995. Many blame reduced service and extra fees on everything from bags to beverages.

An ailing mother with lung cancer may have played a role in Slater's alleged outburst.

Diane Slater told reporters, "I understand why he lost it. I would have lost it, too."

PICTURES: Steven Slater