Steve Slater’s boyfriend Ken Rochelle spoke with reporters in New York Thursday on how his partner is doing in the wake of a turbulent week that saw the JetBlue flight attendant become an overnight celebrity, after abruptly exiting his job in unprecedented fashion, leading to his arrest.
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Rochelle, who lives with the 38-year-old Slater in a Rockaway Park, New York apartment, said “its still a little overwhelming” for them both, and he’s proud of his boyfriend.
Rochelle said he had “no comment” regarding claims made by passengers that Slater was being rude.
Rochelle said Slater is a huge flying enthusiast and is “a different person when he’s out flying — his place is in the skies,” adding that Slater loves identifying plane models and airlines whenever one passes by in the sky.
Despite the alleged dispute that made Slater famous, Rochelle said “the passengers are what keeps [Slater] going,” and that Slater believes God put him on the earth to cheer up passengers he sees are having a hard day.
Describing Slater as “a beautiful, classy person,” Rochelle said that his boyfriend has been “relaxing” this week and letting everything set in as the dust clears from his famous fracas. He said that Slater’s mother, who is suffering from cancer, is “extremely proud” of her son.
Slater is the JetBlue flight attendant who told police that, following a run-in with a rude passenger Monday, he swore over the plane’s PA system, deployed an emergency slide, grabbed a can of beer and slid off the plane.
The incident’s been earning him worldwide publicity, a folk hero moniker and more than 200,000 Facebook fans who have joined a fan page in support of the instant celebrity.