Steven Slater -- the JetBlue flight attendant who decided he'd had enough of squabbling passengers and deployed a chute to escape -- gave his first impromptu interview Wednesday.
Caught on tape in an elevator on his way to a parking garage, Slater claimed he never thought he'd do that, even though he'd been thinking about it for years. "For 20 years, I thought about it," he said in an interview with the New York Times. "But you never think you're going to do it."
In the arraignment documents, Slater described trying to placate a female passenger arguing over the overhead luggage bins at the beginning of the flight from Pittsburgh to JFK airport. Eventually, Slater let loose with a tirade on the plane's intercom, and when the flight landed he jumped ship, so to speak.
He is currently out on $2,500 bail, facing criminal charges -- including criminal mischief and reckless endangerment -- but he's being hailed as a cult hero, with the requisite Facebook fan page included.
The support is a "bit overwhelming," admitted Slater, who had "no idea" the commotion he created until he got out of jail.
Some of the passengers on the plane, however, are now saying it was Slater who was acting agitated and being rude. Slater's ex-wife, Susanne, made an appearance on the "Today" show, where she said she finds that hard to believe, since Slater loved his job.
"Steven is the consummate flight attendant," she said on "Today." "He was literally born to fly. ... He's just a stellar individual and a gentleman. I find it very difficult to believe he would be rude to anyone, especially in the air." To do what he did, Susanne said he must have been seriously provoked.
For now, Slater is taking it one day at a time. Climbing into his Jeep in the parking garage, he was asked where he was headed. "Here, there and everywhere," he said, smiling.