Being stuck on a plane for hours is unpleasant enough, but even more so when your seatmate is mocking you. Per WTVF, that's what mom Savannah Phillips says happened to her on a United Airlines flight Monday from Oklahoma to Illinois. In a Facebook post, Phillips notes how she's always been self-conscious about her weight, which made it doubly worse when she saw what the older man sitting next to her was texting: that he was stuck next to a "smelly fatty." Phillips says she hunched into the wall, crying, until she heard another man's voice say, "Hey—I need to talk to you" to her seatmate. It was Chase Irwin, a dad from Nashville, who'd also seen the other passenger's hurtful text from his own seat, as well as Phillips crying. Irwin demanded the man switch seats with him, then cheered Phillips up for the remainder of the flight, telling her not to let the other man's rude words affect her.
"I could not have this guy sit next to her this whole flight and her thinking he's making fun of her," Irwin tells WTVF. "When I saw her crying it really hit me hard." Phillips says she feels "so blessed" Irwin intervened, and she wrote her Facebook post in the hopes someone would ID him (at the time, she only had his first name and where he worked). Though some commenters say she should've minded her own business and not read her seatmate's private text, many were more supportive, relaying their own experiences and insecurities about their size, per the Kansas City Star. Lending support to Irwin: his employer, Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row. "It has warmed the heart of our entire team," the company posted on Facebook. Meanwhile, a United rep tells Newsweek that "we appreciate the efforts of [Irwin] and would like to hear from Ms. Phillips to understand what occurred." (Read more uplifting news stories.)