Being a nervous flyer means your average flight can be fraught with tension.
Can anyone just open that emergency door mid-flight? Will we all be sucked out if they do? Can I get sucked out of the loo?
Well, plus-size model and 'flight anxious' traveller Natalie Hage's fears were compounded by being sat next to a fat-shaming doofus.
The model paid extra for her emergency-exit seat so as to get the extra leg-room. However, when she sat down she found the man next to her was huffing and puffing with annoyance.
Not only that, but she noticed he was angling his phone away as he typed something.
Curious aboutwhat he was writing, Natalie snapped a photo of the messages, only to find they were fat-shaming her.
They poked fun at her size, suggesting she 'ate a mexican' before boarding and dramatised how squished he was next to her. Interesting side note, you can see from the photos she later posted that there was a full-on manspread stance coming from his side of the arm rest.
Natalie was so angry and upset, she decided to pay him back for his disrespect, by posting the photos (not including his face) and describing the encounter in the caption.
i'm shaking right now. i'm on a flight to LA right now on@americanair. i paid almost $70 extra for this seat i'm in because i know i need a little extra leg room. i'm extremely flight anxious but there were only middle seats available so i had to take what i could get. as soon as i sat down, the gentleman on my left began LOUDLY huffing, sighing, and readjusting himself in his seat. i see him furiously texting and then purposefully turning the phone away from me. so, naturally next time he texts, i take a look. the texts were about me and i'm almost positive he took photos of me. not only were the texts about me, but they were really mean and ugly, with even the recipient named 'linda' chiming back with shaming retorts...someone who can't even see the situation. if you can't read the texts, it says 'hopefully she didn't have any mexican food' and his response is 'i think she ate a mexican'. then he proceeds to say he's leaving a 'neck mark on the window' because he's so smashed against the wall. from the photos, you can see i'm not in his space. he's even taken over both arm rests on purpose, coming to my space and digging his elbows into my side...which is in my seat. his next text to her was 'if the news reports a DFW airbus a321 leaving the runway without rotating, that would be my flight.' another i see later? 'if these seats don't hold, it's not going to matter.' and that's just a few of them. there were several more. i didn't do anything to him. i'm in my seat, completely (see photos). i am crumpled into a ball trying to not bother. i'm just so upset. i asked the other man to my right if he'd switch me and told him what the man was saying about me and he said laughed and refused. that's fine, it's not his issue.
She concluded saying:
this is a fat person's daily reality and not just on a plane. this is on a bus, standing in line at the grocery store, at a concert, on the internet. you can be completely in your own space, not bothering anyone, and people will still fuck with you and try to hurt you. all you can do is know you haven't done anything wrong just by existing and to move on. this just makes me a mixture of enraged and super sad.
The post has so far attracted over 11k likes and hundreds of comments, some positive and some negative.
The next day, the model updated her followers with a new post.
Not wanting to let the man's behaviour go unchecked, Natalie decided to confront him: 'I actually ended up saying something to him when we landed. i couldn't NOT speak up. i'm so tired of fat people being a social punching bag. i won't stand for it. i hope this dude learned something today.[sic]'
And not wanting to leave us in the dark, she filmed the whole thing.
After introducing herself to him she explained that she had seen the messages. He initially denied it, then apologised, blaming it on some drinking.
However, instead of leaving it at that, he then decided to question her ability to undertake the responsibility held by being in the emergency seat.
Thankfully Natalie wasn't taking that bull and said,
That's funny because I work out about five times a week, I'm here for a shoot, I'm a model and I have a very large social media following. I've been Tweeting American Ailines this whole time letting them know your seat number, our flight number, what's happened and what you've said… You know nothing about me by the size of my body, you know nothing about me. So to have an extra quip like that …after you've already apologised is an extra *bleep* for you to do.
Yup, Natalie just schooled this dude.
Check out the video below:
As well as modelling, Natalie is a body positive Queen, spreading messages of self-acceptance and diversity through her Instagram page.