'This is a fat person's daily reality': Plus-size model hits back at man who body shames her on a flight

By Nombulelo Manyana
03 July 2017

How could anyone be so cruel?

As an anxious flyer, this curve model was not over the moon about getting on a plane -- but her flying companion made her trip even more unbearable.

Natalie Hage was headed to Los Angeles on an American Airlines flight, when the man in the seat next to hers started making it quite obvious that he wasn't happy to be sitting there.

Natalie had paid an additional $70 (R922) for extra leg room but found herself even more nervous because her seat was in the middle. Natalie claims the stranger began "loudly huffing, sighing, and readjusting himself in his seat" as soon as she sat next to him. Then she noticed him texting furiously while turning the phone away from her. Naturally, she took a peek -- and caught a glimpse of the "mean and ugly" texts he was sending his pal. "The texts were about me and I'm almost positive he took photos of me," she wrote in an Instagram post showing photos she had snapped of the alleged conversation.

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. 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.

A post shared by natalie. (@nataliemeansnice) on

“If you can’t read the texts, it says ‘hopefully she didn’t have any Mexican food’,” Natalie explains. “His response is ‘I think she ate a Mexican’.”

Then the man proceeded to say he’s leaving a “neck mark on the window” because he’s so smashed against the wall. Natalie further wrote that the man even took up both arms rests and dug his elbows into her side. She snapped a picture of his next text which said, "If the news reports a DFW airbus a321 leaving the runway without rotating, that would be my flight." And another that read: "If these seats don't hold, it's not going to matter", along with a few more nasty quips.

Natalie apparently asked to switch seats with the man on her other side after telling him what was happening but he just 'laughed' and refused. "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," she said. "You can be completely in your own space, not bothering anyone, and people will still 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."

Natalie later uploaded a video of her confronting the man, in which he initially denies sending the texts.

He then claims to have been drinking before getting defensive and suggesting he was “nice” to Natalie by offering a corner of his tray table.

Shockingly the man then suggests Natalie is unfit to sit in the exit row as she would not be able to help anyone in an emergency due to her size.

To which Natalie responds that she works out five times a week and that he knew nothing about her body.

"My body is none of your business... don’t ever treat anyone like that again."

Sources: Metro UK. The Sun. Daily Mail.

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