A New Hero
She was trying to fight back the tears but she just couldn’t take it anymore. She couldn’t handle it anymore. She looked away and out of the nearby window and tried to calm herself down.
But then she heard someone, she turned back to look and saw him standing there, taking her abuser down a notch. What she hadn’t realized is that this man was itching to make a move.
Savannah Phillips felt that she was a passionate woman. She worked hard both in her job and as a mother. Even with all the effort she put into her life she always felt something in the back of her mind that always said she wasn’t good enough.
Whenever she could, Savannah would book a plane seat that had no flyers next to her. Unfortunately for her, today the plane was filled to capacity. She began to feel nervousness overcome her. She tried to breathe but she never knew what would happen on the plane.
Savannah had been battling with her weight for most of her life. Because of her weight she had heard it all, a lot of people were heartless and some were just ignorant. Whether intentional or not it definitely affected her self-esteem.
America’s population is no stranger to being overweight, it has been a problem for a while now. But a recent development is body shaming. This doesn’t help the problem or motivate someone to lose weight. Savannah knew this and had always been sensitive about it even though she tried to have thicker skin.
Savannah didn’t fly out of pleasure, she flew out of necessity. She went on many business trips and had to get on them to travel. Even though she hated the cramped cabins, she just had to endure it.
She had found a solution to her flying problem, she would book the seats around her so there wouldn’t be anyone around her and she’d be more comfortable and less claustrophobic.
Savannah had already booked her ticket and they had said it was full but she couldn’t help but try again. She got to the gate and asked the check-in assistant if there hadn’t been any cancellations. She simply shook her head, Savannah would have to board the packed plane without a spare seat.
Savannah’s experience with packed planes was never a good one. She looked at the check-in assistant and tried reasoning with them. But she looked at her and said it was just impossible with the number of passengers on the plane.
Time To Board
As Savannah made her way to the plane she could see all of the passengers on either side of her, she already felt like there were eyes on her. She didn’t appreciate it and could feel her anxiety slowly rising.
She just looked down at her feet and kept repeating “It’ll all be over soon.” But she couldn’t shake the horrible feeling in her gut. Her instincts told her something would happen.
A Difficult Situation
Savannah was now boarding the plane, seeing the jam-packed cabin, she tried breathing and as calmly as she could, make her way to her seat.
She got to where her seat was, but it was a window seat and there was a man sitting in the aisle seat of the row. When he saw her waiting he rolled his eyes and stood up to let her pass. When she shuffled passed he let out a loud sigh which made all of the calming exercises that she tried redundant.
Eyes On Them
The man sitting next to Savannah was an elderly man wearing bright sunglasses. To say he didn’t like overweight people was putting it lightly and he wanted her to know exactly how he felt about her. He started typing something on his phone.
After he had typed out his message, he set his screen’s brightness to full and set his text size to the biggest it could be, he wanted this message to be clear. After it was finished he moved the screen towards Savannah so she could see it. But what he didn’t account for was that the man sitting directly behind him could see everything.
The Old Man
Savannah was always a helpful person, when she saw the man moving his phone towards her she asked what he was doing. He said that it was so he could see his screen better. But he was lying and kept putting the finishing touches on his message.
But when Savannah saw what he had typed out on his phone it took her by surprise, you don’t expect such a horrible thing to be typed and shown to you. She averted her eyes and quickly looked towards the window. She didn’t want to cry, little did she know that the man behind them witnessed the whole thing.
It was now clear why the man had played with the settings on his phone until she could see it clearly. The message he had typed out was obvious and he didn’t even try to hide it from her. He wanted his opinions to be clear.
She felt like she was back in high school being teased all over again. The message that the man had typed was: “Sitting next to a smelly fatty”. Savannah couldn’t take it, but she was unaware that her protector was so close.
The old man received a sudden, vigorous tap on his shoulder. As he turned around he heard “I need to speak to you. NOW.” Startled, he rose and followed the young gentleman down the aisle.
Angry, Chase Irwin spoke firmly, “we’re switching seats NOW” he ordered. Taken aback by his confrontation, the old man cowardly agreed. Sitting back down, Chase addressed the tearful Savannah. Then he really became a hero to many.
Savanna’s post began: “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…”
“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,” she continued.”…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.”
Savannah was taken aback by how many likes, shares, and comments her post received. Many users wrote encouraging comments, stating that Savanna was beautiful just the way she was and not to let the rude man’s personal opinion affect her.
Many users also praised Chase for his actions and said that his good deed needed to be acknowledged. And they were determined to find him.
It wasn’t long before Facebook sleuths identified Chase Irwin by looking for the page of the restaurant he managed, Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row bar and restaurant in Nashville.
Soon, people who had read Savannah’s heartbreaking story began to flood the restaurant’s page with well-wishes and praise for the hero Chase. And it wasn’t long before the media caught wind of the story.
Chase said in an interview with NewsChannel 5 that he had not approached the stranger and intervened for the publicity. When he saw the texts that Savannah’s rude seatmate was writing, something inside of him snapped.
“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,” Chase 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 I actually got sick to my stomach.”
A Sleeve Of Tricks
Chase had been paying attention to the situation from the very start. He sensed that a situation would unfold as the elderly man was excessively rude to her.
As soon as he had seen the text, Chase knew he couldn’t let this old man get away with hurting another person so badly. But he had no idea how much of a difference his act of kindness would make.
He Couldn’t Believe It
The rude man had written “Hey babe, sitting next to a smelly fatty. She’s overflowing over my armrest. I think I’m going to be sick!” Chase couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“I began noticing her wiping tears and my heart sank,” Chase confessed in an interview with Inside Edition. He knew he had to do something.
Fifteen Minutes Of Shame
He took a short video of the man on Snapchat and wrote: ‘This guy, prob mid-50s just text his wife that he is sitting next to a smelly fatty and was about to vomit. I watched her read his text and is now looking sad.”
Deliberating over whether he should confront the man right there and then, he added: “Should I… just say something when landing?” Then, he decided that he wasn’t going to tolerate it.
In an interview with local news, Chase mentioned how much he hated discrimination. When he had seen what the elderly man was writing, he had to act on it.
But instead of waiting to have a word with him when the plane landed, he called a flight attendant over to let her know what he was about to do. Then, he confronted him.
Setting Him Straight
According to Chase, he approached the fat-shamer and ordered him to swap seats with him, now. At first, the man was confused. Assuming that Chase was offering him a better seat, he thanked him and asked why. But Chase was about to set him straight.
“Because you’re a heartless person,” Chase told him. “I read your text, and the girl next to you crying also read your text. And you should really take into consideration other people’s feelings.” That certainly kept the old guy quiet. Then, before the rude man could say anything else, he sat down next to Savannah.
“He encouraged me not to let that guy get to me and that everything was going to be fine,” Savannah recalled.
“He said he just happened to see that guy’s text messages and he started shaking he was so mad and he knew he had to do something. He stopped the flight attendant and told her what he was about to do.”
Hailed A Hero
Savannah’s Facebook post garnered over 7,000 comments and 1,300 shares. And when Chase was located by his Facebook fans, he was inundated with messages, thanking him.
Posting a story about the incident to Facebook, Dierks Whiskey Row said it was “so proud” to share the story about Chase. “Thank you to everyone who has messaged us regarding this story,” the company said. “It has warmed the heart of our entire team.” But how does Savannah feel now?
“I would like to add that I do forgive him,” Savannah said in an interview. “I have said lots of things in my life that I shouldn’t have, just like everyone else. If I hated him, I would not be any different and it is vital to respond with love. Only love brings change in the world.”
Savannah said that neither she nor Chase have spoken with the man again… she doesn’t even know who he is. “And I really don’t want to know. I don’t want this story to be about him – my goal was for it to be about Chase and how we should all be brave like he was and stand up for others.”
Thanks to Chase’s kindness and Savannah’s post, they helped raise awareness for the victims of body-shaming — an issue which has now been brought to the forefront of people’s consciousness.
Body shaming is an abhorrent practice that should be stopped. Chase will always remain a true hero in Savannah’s eyes, as well as many others we’re sure!