NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A woman took to social media to thank a fellow airline passenger for stepping in after she was body-shamed.
“Hey babe, I can’t believe this. I’m sitting next to a smelly fatty.”
They’re words never meant to be seen.
“Can’t even put the armrest down. I’m going to vomit. I’m stuck by this fatty.”
They’re words that struck Chase Irwin.
“When I saw her crying, it really hit me hard,” he said. “I actually got really sick to my stomach.”
In large fonts, “smelly fatty” was one of the bright texts he could read from a passenger’s phone across the aisle on a United Airlines flight. The stranger was describing the woman sitting right next to him.
“I’m a girl, and I battle things like that every single day,” said Savannah Phillips, the woman referenced in those texts.
And she read those messages, too.
“I just started praying for him, and I didn’t know what else to do,” she said. “And I started crying, and I couldn’t stop.”
Phillips prefers to sit by herself because she said she’s self-conscious about her weight. The mother of two never expected someone to stick up for her.
“He tapped him on the shoulder and said, ‘I need to talk to you,’ and the guy took his earphones out and turned around and Chase said, ‘We’re switching seats right now,'” Phillips said.
The traveler was happy to do so.
“He thanked me and said, ‘Can I ask why?’ I said absolutely,” Irwin recalled. “I said, ‘Because you’re a heartless person, and I read your text, and the girl next to you crying and she also read your text and you should take into consideration other people’s feelings.'”
“And he said, ‘Don’t let that get to you,'” Phillips said.
Then Irwin have her a hug.
“It meant the world to me. I could not believe it,” she said.
The two talked about their families and eventually went their separate ways after the flight.
Phillips thanked Irwin on Facebook and reminded folks that words have the power to both hurt and uplift.
“I do feel more beautiful today,” she said.