This woman was fat-shamed on a flight. But her story has a happy ending.

On May 14, one of Savannah Phillips' most dreaded flying fears came to life.  

"I’m not the biggest person on the airplane, but I’m not the smallest," Phillips explained in a Facebook post. "My worst nightmare is someone being uncomfortable because they have to sit next to me."

Fearful of the harassment and even threats people with bigger bodies can face while flying, Phillips usually tries to buy a seat where she's not sitting next to another passenger.


GIF via News Channel 5/YouTube.

But on a flight from Oklahoma to Chicago, Phillips was assigned a seat at the gate and wasn't able to sit alone. Unfortunately, the man who ended up next to her embodied the very worst.

"I can't believe this, I'm sitting next to a smelly fatty."

Those were the words the stranger, an older man who claimed to be a comedian, texted someone else — while sitting right next to Phillips on the plane. A setting on the man's phone enlarged the text, according to Phillips, and the screen's brightness was turned all the way up.

It was unmistakably about her.

GIF via News Channel 5/YouTube.

The nasty comment immediately brought Phillips to tears.

"I don’t even know what the rest of his text said," she wrote in her post. "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."

Phillips continued:

"Before I knew it, I could feel hot, salty tears coming down my face. I sat and cried silently, hoping this guy didn’t try to make small talk, because I didn’t trust how I would react and I didn’t want to get kicked off the plane. I was so hurt. The pilot came over head and said there would be a 30-minute delay before he could take off — great. Just more time I would have to sit next to this creep."

Fortunately, that's when things took a turn for the (much, much) better.

Fellow passenger Chase Irwin sitting nearby had spotted the incredibly hurtful text and decided to step in.

He couldn't believe what he was witnessing.

"I actually got really sick to my stomach," Irwin explained to News Channel 5.

GIF via News Channel 5/YouTube.

Irwin tapped the "comedian" on the shoulder and demanded he change seats with him, according to Phillips. The "comedian" agreed to switch, but then asked why.

Irwin did not hold back. "I said, 'because you're a heartless person,'" Irwin recalled. "I read your text, and the girl next to you crying also read your text. And you should really take into consideration other people's feelings.'"

I am only sharing this story of what happened to me today in hopes that the person who stuck up for me will somehow be...

Posted by Savannah Phillips on Monday, May 14, 2018

Phillips and Irwin got along great, chatting about their families and jobs on the flight to Chicago. The flight attendant, who learned about what happened, kept trying to give Irwin free drinks and said that he was her hero, according to Phillips.

"He wasn’t her hero," Phillips wrote. "He was mine."

Fortunately, Phillips' story had a happy ending. But for passengers with bigger bodies, that's not always the case.

"Flying while fat" can truly be a daunting affair. There's the staring, the rude comments — not to mention navigating a patchwork of guidelines that complicate purchasing a ticket for an increasingly small seat on a plane.

But as Irwin showed, employing some basic empathy for your fellow passengers can go a long way. We should all keep that in mind when we travel.

Watch News Channel 5's segment on Phillips' story below:

More
The Guardian / YouTube

Earlier this month, a beluga whale caught the world's attention by playing fetch with a rugby ball thrown by South African researchers off the waters of Norway.

The adorable video has been watched over 20 million times, promoting people across the globe to wonder how the whale became so comfortable around humans.

It's believed that the whale, known as Hvaldimir, was at some point, trained by the Russian military and was either released or escaped.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Maverick Austin

Your first period is always a weird one. You know it's going to happen eventually, but you're not always expecting it. One day, everything is normal, then BAM. Puberty hits you in a way you can't ignore.

One dad is getting attention for the incredibly supportive way he handled his daughter's first period. "So today I got 'The Call,'" Maverick Austin started out a Facebook post that has now gone viral.

The only thing is, Austin didn't know he got "the call." His 13-year-old thought she pooped her pants. At that age, your body makes no sense whatsoever. It's a miracle every time you even think you know what's going on.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / Katie Sturino

Plus-size women are in the majority. In America, 68% of women wear a size 14 or higher. Yet many plus-sized are ignored by the fashion industry. Plus-sized clothing is a $21 billion industry, however only one-fifth of clothing sales are plus-sized. On top of that, plus-sized women are often body shamed, further reinforcing that bigger body types are not mainstream despite the fact that it is common.

Plus-size fashion blogger Katie Sturino recently called out her body shamers. Sturino runs the blog, The 12ish Style, showing that plus-sized fashion isn't – and shouldn't be – limited to clothes that hide the body.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via Twitter / Soraya

There is a strange right-wing logic that suggests when minorities fight for equal rights it's somehow a threat to the rights already held by those in the majority or who hold power.

Like when the Black Lives Matter movement started, many on the right claimed that fighting for black people to be treated equally somehow meant that other people's lives were not as valuable, leading to the short-lived All Lives Matter movement.

This same "oppressed majority" logic is behind the new Straight Pride movement which made headlines in August after its march through the streets of Boston.

Keep Reading Show less
popular