Man on United Flight Defends Passenger Who Was Body-Shamed

May 18, 2018

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A passenger on a United Airlines flight found an unlikely hero after the man seated next to her on the aircraft body-shamed her.

Savannah Phillips was left devastated when on a flight from Oklahoma to Chicago on Tuesday, she noticed the passenger sitting next to her referred to her as a “a smelly fatty” in a text message.

Phillips shared her encounter in a Facebook post about the male passenger, who she said appeared to be around 60 years old.

“His phone was maybe 12 inches (30cm) from my face and he proceeded to text someone that he was sitting next to ‘a smelly fatty’,” she wrote. Philips says she normally tries to sit in a row by herself on planes because of her size. “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. I sat and cried silently … I was so hurt,” Phillips wrote.

Just when she thought she would have to spend the whole flight crying next to the man who body-shamed her, someone from the row behind her tapped him on the shoulder.

“Hey- I need to talk to you,” the man behind her told her seat-mate, according to Phillips’ Facebook post. “We are switching seats. Now.” The passenger behind Phillips, identified as Chase Irwin, saw the text message himself and told the man that he wasn’t “putting up with that.” He notified a flight attendant that he was switching seats with the man. 

Chase told News News Channel 5 he just had to do something about the situation. After switching with the man, Irwin gave Savannah a few words of encouragement following the incident. 

Phillips says what Irwin did “meant the world” to her.

Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images.

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