US woman called 'smelly fatty' by man on United Airlines flight thanks hero who stepped in

Ms Savannah Phillips said that she now believes there are more good people in the world than bad, after a man named Chase Irwin stood up against the bully who had body-shamed her on an United Airlines flight. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ SAVANNAH PHILLIPS

An American woman was left in tears after a fellow passenger on her United Airlines flight called her "smelly fatty".

But her painful experience was soon sweetened by the kindness of a stranger.

Ms Savannah Phillips wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday (May 15) that she now believes there are more good people in the world than bad, after a man named Chase Irwin stood up against the bully who had body-shamed her.

That day, Ms Phillips had been assigned a seat next to an older man who looked to be in his 60s on her flight from Oklahoma to Chicago, Illinois, she said in her post.

And while she normally tries to pick her seat to avoid sitting next to anyone on planes, she was unable to do so this time, as she had been moved from a later flight, she added.

"I'm not the biggest person on the airplane, but I'm not the smallest," she said.

"My worst nightmare is someone being uncomfortable because they have to sit next to me."

She said that as soon as she sat down next to the elderly man, who claimed to be a comedian, he took out his mobile phone, which had huge fonts and the brightness of the screen "turned all the way up".

"His phone was maybe 12 inches (30cm) from my face and he proceeded to text someone that he was sitting next to 'a smelly fatty'," she added.

Reading the text messages left her in shock and soon, "I could feel hot, salty tears coming down my face," she said.

After about 10 minutes of crying silently at her seat, Ms Phillips said she was surprised to see someone behind her tap on the man's shoulder, saying: "Hey, I need to talk to you."

The stranger, whom she later identified as Mr Irwin, told the man: "We are switching seats. Now. You are texting about her and I'm not putting up with that."

And when he learnt that she had seen the text messages, Mr Irwin encouraged her not to let the man get to her and reassured her that things would be fine, she added.

They spent the rest of the flight chatting about their spouses, children and jobs, among other things.

According to Ms Phillips, Mr Irwin works for Dierks Whiskey Row in Nashville.

Mr Irwin told Nashville's NewsChannel 5 on Tuesday that he was initially going to wait till the end of the flight to say something, but he "could not have this guy sit next to her this whole flight and her thinking he's making fun of her."

He added: "When I saw her crying, it really hit me hard and actually got me sick to my stomach."

Ms Phillips said that she wanted to share her story to let Mr Irwin know that what he did meant the world to her, in the hopes that other people in similar situations would also do the same as he did.

Her Facebook post has since went viral, with over 1,000 shares and 500 comments.

United Airlines spokesman Kimberly Gibbs told Newsweek on Thursday: "We appreciate the efforts of the customer and would like to hear from Ms Phillips to understand what occurred."

She added that the company would "review the matter" with its team members.

"The flight attendant kept trying to give him free drinks and told him that he was her hero," Ms Phillips said.

"He wasn't her hero- he was mine."

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