Flying on an airplane is an exercise in misery. This is even more true for people who are even slightly larger than average.
One woman's worst nightmare became a reality when the man seated beside her referred to her as a "smelly fatty." She broke down into tears.
She says that this is when a heroic other passenger stepped in.
In a lengthy post to Facebook, Samantha Phillips shares the story of her humiliation.
"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 recognized.."
She gets her wish. Whoops, sorry, that's a spoiler.
"I’ve been on airplanes for the past three weeks. My flight to Chicago was changed to an earlier flight because of storms, so I didn’t get to pick my seat like a normally do."
Not ideal at all.
"I always try to sit in a row where I don’t have to sit next to anyone."
That's good. Even a window seat is preferable to being stuck in the middle.
"I’m not the biggest person on the airplane, but I’m not the smallest."
That's true for most people. Technically, that's true for all but two people on any given flight. But it seems that she is self-conscious about her weight.
"My worst nightmare is someone being uncomfortable because they have to sit next to me."
"My seat was assigned at the gate, and when we boarded I was sitting next to an older guy who said he was a comedian."
That's how you know that it's going to be either a great flight or a terrible one.
Samantha got the latter.
"He looked like he was in his 60s and had on bright yellow sunglasses. He stood up so I could get into my seat next to the window."
This is when the trouble started.
"As soon as I got buckled, he sat back down. The flight attendant started the safety speech and he got his phone out (with huge font and the screen brightness turned all the way up)."
As people age, often eyesight can fail, requiring that they zoom in a little more on their devices. The results can be that it looks like people are using some sort of Fisher Price edition of their phone's OS.
It also makes their texts almost impossible to not see for those around them.
"His phone was maybe 12 inches from my face and he proceeded to text someone that he was sitting next to 'a smelly fatty.'"
That is ... unspeakable.
As you can imagine, this woman was mortified and crushed.
"I don’t even know what the rest of his text said. I turned my head away as fast as I could."
Some have tried to shame her for "snooping." When words are that size, you can't help but see them. And she was not the only one who saw.
"I was shocked and it was like confirmation of the negative things I think about myself on a daily basis."
It's everyone with a self esteem issue's worst nightmare -- learning that others see them the way that they see themselves.
"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."
Sometimes, something hits you in the emotions before you can safely dissociate. It catches you off guard and the tears come out.
"Because I didn’t trust how I would react and I didn’t want to get kicked off the plane. I was so hurt."
Of course. What a horrible, impossible situation.
"The pilot came overhead 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."
"We sat on the runway waiting for the OK to take off for about 10 minutes- I sat there unable to stop silently crying."
Sometimes, humiliation and emotional pain has a snowball effect and cannot be easily silenced.
"I was scrunching myself up against the wall as far as I could. All of a sudden, someone from behind us taps on the guy’s shoulder and says, 'Hey- I need to talk to you.'"
That someone from behind them was a guy named Chase Irwin.
"The guy next to me takes out his headphones. Someone behind us says, 'We are switching seats. Now.'"
Way to take charge, dude.
"'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.'"
When you're texting in a big-ass font that people beside you and seated on another row can read, you might as well be speaking out loud.
"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."
That was probably difficult to admit.
"He encouraged me not to let that guy get to me and that everything was going to be fine. We talked about Ross and the kids, his two year old son, our jobs, amongst other things. "
"He said he just happened to see that guy’s text messages he started shaking he was so mad and knew he had to do something."
Most people would probably just sit there and feel sorry for her, or sit there and wish the rude texter dead, or both. This guy actually did something about it.
"He stopped the flight attendant and told her what he was about to do."
So this wall all sanctioned by the flight crew.
"I told him thank you for what he did and that it meant the world to me -- and that he would be my husband’s new favorite person."
"The flight attendant kept trying to give him free drinks and told him that he was her hero. "
As pictured, Chase even got recognized by his place of employment. It's what he deserves.