STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Mother body-shamed on airplane thanks man for intervening

A social media post crediting a Nashville man for stepping in to comfort a flight passenger who was body-shamed has g...

Posted: May 16, 2018 2:59 PM
Updated: May 16, 2018 2:59 PM

A social media post crediting a Nashville man for stepping in to comfort a flight passenger who was body-shamed has gained plenty of attention.

Savannah Phillips wrote on Facebook about her experience after being called "a smelly fatty" on board a United flight from Oklahoma to Illinois on Monday.

The mother said she always preferred to sit by herself in flights because she was self-conscious about her weight, and feared others would feel uncomfortable sitting next to her.

A man she described to be in his 60s with yellow sunglasses who claimed to be a comedian sat next right next to her.

Her post stated,"As soon as I got buckled, he sat back down...his phone was maybe 12 inches from my face and he proceeded to text someone that he was sitting next to a "smelly fatty." I don't even know what the rest of his text said. 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. Before I knew it, I could feel hot, salty tears coming down my face."

Phillips told Scripps station WTVF in Nashville she began to cry and even prayed for the man. Unbeknownst to her, another passenger sitting in the row behind them across the aisle also happened to see the message on his phone.

"He tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'I need to talk to you'" she recalled. "The guy took his earphones out and turned around and he said, 'We're switching seats right now.'"

Phillips remembered the passenger saying he was not going to put up with what the man said. They eventually switched seats, and an unlikely and pleasant encounter ensued.

"When he sat down he saw me crying and asked why I was crying." Phillips said. "He said to not let it get to me and not to worry about it, and we started making small talk which made me feel better."

She learned the passenger who helped comfort her was Chase Irwin, a father and manager at Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row Nashville on Broadway.

Phillips shared her experience on social media in hopes he would be recognized, and within half an hour, he acknowledged reading the post.

Irwin emphasized to WTVF on the phone that he did not intervene for publicity. He described feeling infuriated once seeing the message from the man's phone after he further said he was going to vomit.

"I was going to wait until the end of the flight to say something but I could not have this guy sit next to her this whole flight and her thinking he's making fun of her," Irwin said. "It really gets to me deep down when I see someone crying, and when I saw her crying it really hit me hard and actually got sick to my stomach."

"I was so blessed and happy he was there," Phillips added. "I hope it sets a good example for others for what they should do in situations like that and to stick up for people when they need help."

As of Tuesday morning, the Facebook post had nearly 500 shares.

Read the post in its entirety:

"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...

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. I always try to sit in a row where I don't have to sit next to anyone. I'm not the biggest person on the airplane, but I'm not the smallest. 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. 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. 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). His phone was maybe 12 inches from my face and he proceeded to text someone that he was sitting next to "a smelly fatty."

I don't even know what the rest of his text said. 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. 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 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. 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." The guy next to me takes out his headphones. Someone behind us says, "We are switching seats. Now." 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." 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. 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. He stopped the flight attendant and told her what he was about to do. 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.

He wasn't her hero - he was mine. I told him that yesterday at church, one of my favorite people on the planet, Jeff McMillon, talked about how God sees you. Good time, bad times, in a mess - your own fault or not - God sees you. And God saw 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's name is Chase - he works for Whiskey Row in Nashville. Share this post, look him up- whatever - he did prove to me today that (1) not only does God see me, but (2) there are more good people in the world than bad."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 292811

Reported Deaths: 6613
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19515228
Hinds18611385
Harrison16431275
Rankin12543261
Jackson12419216
Lee9641160
Madison9378194
Jones7857145
Forrest7094136
Lauderdale6760225
Lowndes5998137
Lamar581180
Lafayette5698113
Washington5135128
Bolivar4580120
Oktibbeha438691
Panola424992
Warren4101113
Pearl River4083128
Pontotoc406668
Marshall398392
Monroe3977126
Union392173
Neshoba3758166
Lincoln3447100
Hancock338673
Leflore3349118
Sunflower316685
Tate299874
Pike298293
Scott291867
Alcorn289660
Itawamba288571
Yazoo283262
Tippah275465
Copiah273957
Coahoma272666
Simpson270778
Prentiss267658
Leake251370
Wayne250540
Marion249878
Covington247178
Grenada244676
Adams232877
George229845
Newton223151
Winston220274
Tishomingo211465
Jasper211244
Attala205969
Chickasaw200550
Holmes181470
Clay177848
Stone171129
Tallahatchie169239
Clarke168271
Calhoun155527
Smith151531
Yalobusha142236
Greene126533
Walthall123340
Noxubee122629
Perry120934
Montgomery120537
Lawrence119021
Carroll117223
Amite110732
Webster109229
Jefferson Davis99931
Tunica98023
Claiborne97329
Benton92524
Humphreys91326
Kemper89422
Quitman76614
Franklin75419
Choctaw69416
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61027
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 490220

Reported Deaths: 9744
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson704661342
Mobile35810721
Madison32203443
Tuscaloosa23961409
Montgomery22417489
Shelby21773211
Baldwin19635272
Lee14883147
Morgan13571248
Etowah13118312
Calhoun13090283
Marshall11212203
Houston10036257
Limestone9321133
Elmore9313179
Cullman8864177
St. Clair8771220
Lauderdale8570210
DeKalb8419173
Talladega7450162
Walker6492249
Jackson6466102
Autauga617285
Blount6072125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5229100
Dale4614106
Russell401431
Franklin397675
Covington3948105
Chilton383196
Escambia376670
Tallapoosa3559139
Clarke342749
Dallas3396140
Chambers3393103
Pike292771
Lawrence281284
Marion280793
Winston245665
Bibb243759
Marengo238554
Geneva238468
Pickens223554
Barbour209550
Hale208464
Fayette199356
Butler195165
Henry182341
Cherokee176338
Monroe165638
Randolph162740
Washington156233
Crenshaw143353
Clay143254
Macon140543
Cleburne136539
Lamar131632
Lowndes130148
Wilcox120825
Bullock116534
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98231
Coosa86823
Greene86732
Choctaw54723
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 57°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 59°
Oxford
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 44°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 57°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather