Air travel is generally cramped and all-around uncomfortable as it is, but one woman's flight quickly turned into an awful experience after getting body-shamed by the man next her.
Plus-size model and self-described “fat lady” Natalie Hage was on a recent flight to LA in the middle seat of an exit row when she noticed the man sitting next to her texting rude comments about her size. In a post on Instagram, she described the experience, and shared three photos of the man and his phone.
“I’m shaking right now,” she posted. “As soon as I sat down, the gentleman on my left began LOUDLY huffing, sighing, and readjusting himself in his seat.”
Hage goes on to explain that the man was texting and purposely turning his phone away from her, so she looked to see what he was writing. “The texts were about me and I’m almost positive he took photos of me,” she wrote. “…they were really mean and ugly.”
In one text, according to Hage, the recipient wrote, “hopefully she didn't have any mexican food," and the man’s response was, “I think she ate a mexican.”
Hage explained that the man went on, texting how he was “leaving a neck mark on the window” because he was so smashed against the wall. Hage wrote that, despite being as courteous as possible, the man was actually coming into her space and “digging his elbows into [her] side.”
When the person in the aisle seat refused to trade places with her after she explained the situation, Hage kept quiet until the end of the flight. Then she decided to confront the man about his mean texts, capturing it on video.
"I couldn't help but notice before we took off you were sending really horrible text messages about me," she says. The man apologizes, saying “I’m sorry, I was drinking.”
He then went on to imply that she shouldn’t even be sitting in an exit row. "When they ask if you're willing and capable to assist people in getting off the airplane in an emergency, do you honestly think you are?" he asks her. Hage told the man that she works out five times a week and that her body is none of his business.
Before getting off the plane, Hage tells the man, “don’t ever treat anyone like that again.” Then the man asked her out to dinner for the trouble.
“This is a fat person's daily reality and not just on a plane,” Hage wrote about the incident.
In a follow-up to her initial Instagram post, Hage wrote that she decided to call man out to show people that “you don’t deserve to be made to feel insignificant and that you have more of a voice than you realize.”