A Nashville man was commended for courage and nobility, after intervening in what he considered to be mid-flight bullying.
Oklahoma resident Savannah Phillips prefers to fly alone since she is self-conscious about her weight.
“I am not the biggest person on the airplane but I am not the smallest,” she said on Facebook. “My worst nightmare is someone being uncomfortable because they have to sit next to me.”
However, on one flight to Chicago she was assigned a window seat next to a man in his 60s who wore yellow sunglasses.
The man, who claimed to be a comedian, was not funny at all when he began texting one of his contacts that he sat next to an overweight and unpleasantly smelling passenger.
“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),” Philips said. “His phone was maybe 12 inches from my face and he proceeded to text someone that he was sitting next to a ‘smelly fatty.'”
Savannah became so shocked she could not bring herself to read the rest of the insulting remarks about her appearance and body odor.
“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,” she said. “Before I knew it I could feel hot, salty tears coming down my face. I sat and cried silently, hoping this guy did not try to make small talk because I did not trust how I would react, and I did not want to get kicked off the plane–I was so hurt.”
She became so upset that it attracted attention from other passengers. Chase Irwin immediately stepped in, and informed the comedian he has to swap seats immediately.
“Hey, I need to talk to you,” Chase told the man sitting next to Phillips who responded by removing his earbuds. “We are switching seats–now.”
The man did not understand why he needed to swap seats until Chase informed him, “You are texting about her, and I am not putting up with that.” The pair then changed seats.
When Chase sat down next to Phillips he comforted her and tried to cheer her up.
“He encouraged me not to let that guy get to me and that everything was going to be fine,” she said. “We talked about Ross and the kids, his 2 year-old son, our jobs, amongst other things.”
Others noticed his kind-hearted actions and a flight attendant tried to offer free drinks because he was her “hero.”
“He was not her hero–he was mine,” Phillips said. “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.”
Since posting her remarks on social media, the post has gone viral. More than 8,000 people liked it, 2,000 shared, and 1,400 commented at the time of publication.
“Thank you Chase for [being] the gentleman and hero you are,” one social network user commented. “Savannah you are beautiful and do not let anyone tell you any different–stay strong and always keep your head held high!”