Woman who was fat-shamed on a flight praises 'hero' passenger who stepped in
There are enough stories going around of people being mistreated in the world that sometimes it's easy for forget that all of us have the capacity to change someone's day and stand up for them when they are in need. Savannah Phillips, from Oklahoma, found this comfort and support from a complete stranger this week, with her description of events going viral.
Savannah prefers to sit by herself during flights because she feels self-conscious about her weight, but when she got a flight to Chicago on Monday this wasn't an option. Seated next to a man in his 60s with sunglasses, who told her he was a comedian, her anxieties came to pass.
In her Facebook post, which has now gone viral, she wrote:
"As soon as I got buckled, he sat back down...his phone was maybe 12 inches from my face and he proceeded to text someone that he was sitting next to a 'smelly fatty'.
"I don’t even know what the rest of his text said. I turned my head away as fast as I could. I was shocked and it was like confirmation of the negative things I think about myself on a daily basis.
"Before I knew it, I could feel hot, salty tears coming down my face."
This is when the pilot announced over the tannoy that there would be a 30-minute delay before they could take off, leaving the poor woman to sit in an incredibly awkward situation. However, unbeknownst to her another passenger sitting across the aisle saw the message on the phone too, coming to her aid. Savannah described the encounter:
"All of a sudden, someone from behind us taps on the guy’s shoulder and says, “Hey- I need to talk to you.” The guy next to me takes out his headphones. Someone behind us says, “We are switching seats. Now.”
"The guy next to me said, “OK- why?” And I hear someone say (removing curse words), “You are texting about her, and I’m not putting up with that.”
"A guy comes and sits next to me and is shocked when he sees me crying. He asked if I saw the texts and I nodded yes. He encouraged me not to let that guy get to me and that everything was going to be fine."
Apparently, he explained to her that he had seen the text messages too, and was "shaking he was so mad and knew he had to do something". He stopped the flight attendant and told her what he was about to do, and they were all for it. The man, who was later identified as Chase Irwin from Nashville, comforted and reassured her until she felt better.
"I was going to wait until the end of the flight to say something but I could not have this guy sit next to her this whole flight and her thinking he's making fun of her" Irwin told News Channel 5. "It really gets to me deep down when I see someone crying, and when I saw her crying it really hit me hard and actually got sick to my stomach."
In the original post, Savannah described that the flight attendant tried to give him free drinks for what he did, and even told him that he was her hero. "He wasn’t her hero," she concluded, "he was mine."