Flying is often a hellishly bad experience. You're crammed into a giant flashlight miles of the earth, with only tiny bags of snacks to get through. They are also squeezed into seats alongside other angry passengers who all have feelings about who should use the elbow rest. They think they are and they are wrong.
It can be particularly difficult for larger passengers because seats are often smaller than what is actually average in this country because they must sell those tickets! It's tight. We also live in a fat phobic and body-shaming culture that gives everyone over a size ten a hard time over their lives. It can produce fear. A mother named Savannah Phillips recently wrote in a viral Facebook post that all her fears of her body were brought to life while flying during a terrible interaction on an airplane.
But their story also has (19459004)
I'm just telling the story of what happened to me today, hoping that the person who stands up for me is somehow recognized …
I have been in planes for the past three weeks. My flight to Chicago was changed to a previous flight due to storms, so I could not choose my place as normal. I always try to sit in a row where I do not have to sit next to someone. I'm not the biggest person on the plane, but I'm not the smallest. My worst nightmare is someone who feels unwell because they have to sit next to me.
My seat was assigned at the gate, and as we boarded I sat next to an elderly man who said he was a comedian. He looked like he was in his 60s and had pale yellow sunglasses. He got up so I could sit down in my seat next to the window. As soon as I was strapped in, he sat down again. The flight attendant started the safety speech and he took out his cell phone (with huge font and full screen brightness). His phone was perhaps 12 inches away from my face and he continued to write to someone sitting next to "a stinking fat".
I do not know I know what the rest of his text said. I turned my head away as fast as possible. I was shocked and it was a confirmation of the negative things that I think about myself every day. Before I knew it, I felt hot, salty tears streaming down my face. I sat down and cried softly, hoping this guy was not trying to make small talk because I did not trust how I would react and I did not want to be thrown off the plane. I was so hurt. The pilot came over him and said that it would be 30 minutes late before he could start – great. Only more time left me sitting next to this fiend.
We sat on the runway and waited for the OK to pick up for about 10 minutes – I was sitting because he could not stop crying. I rolled as far as possible against the wall. Suddenly, someone behind us knocks on the boy'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're changing places now." The guy next to me said, "OK – why?"
And I hear someone saying ( "You're just texting you, and I'm not going to let that happen." A guy comes and sits next to me and is shocked when he sees me crying. He asked if I had seen the lyrics and I nodded yes. He encouraged me not to let the guy come to me and everything would be fine. We talked about Ross and the kids, his two-year-old son and our jobs.
He said he had just seen this guy's text messages He started to shiver, he was so angry and knew he had to do something. He stopped the flight attendant and told her what he was up to. I told him, thanks 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 was constantly trying to give him free drinks and telling him that he was her hero.
He was not her hero – he belonged to me. I told him that Jeff McMillon, one of my favorite people on the planet, was talking in church yesterday about how God sees you. Good time, bad times, disaster – your own fault or not – God sees you. And God has seen me today. I told him that he was a blessing sent to me and how thankful I was that he was there.
So – this guy is called Chase – he works for the whiskey series in Nashville. Share this post, look at it – whatever – it has proven to me today that (1) not only does God see me, but (2) there are more good people in the world than bad.
Chase now gets the recognition Phillips believes he deserves.
He was interviewed for a local news station and told his side of the story.
Chase says he can see the man's lyrics from there, where he sat. In the beginning he was not sure what he should do. He was debating whether to kick the guy in the ass or wait until landing to say something.
In the end he did neither. He patted the guy on the shoulder and told him to change seats. The man misunderstood the situation and thanked him, asking why he offered.
"Because you are a heartless man," Chase replied. "I read your lyrics and the girl next to you also weeps your lyrics and you should consider the feelings of others."
Nobody said what the man did next, but he changed places. People were very touched by how the gesture changed Phillips' experience and reminded her that not all are terrible.
Some people said they experienced similar discrimination on flights:
And at least one person claims to know and love Chase:
It's a small world, so help our neighbor if you can.