A Dallas-based plus-size model and student who promotes body positivity has used her social media platform to share how she fought back against a body-shamer while on a flight.
Natalie Hage, 30, said the hurtful ordeal happened on a recent American Airlines flight to Los Angeles when she only had a middle seat available to her. She had paid extra for a seat with greater leg room.
The man seated next to her "began LOUDLY huffing, sighing, and readjusting himself in his seat," she wrote on Instagram. "I see him furiously texting and then purposefully turning the phone away from me."
Hage said she noticed that the man was texting derogatory comments about her like "I think she ate a Mexican." He also wrote that he was leaving "a neck mark against the window" even though Hage was not "in his space."
"The whole flight, I wanted to disappear," she told NBC's "Today" show.
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Hage captured photos of the man's texts and at the end of the flight recorded a video that shows her calmly but pointedly challenging him about his behavior.
"If I didn’t say something, I’d regret it forever," she later explained to "Today." "I’d be a hypocrite."
The man at first denied his actions then later apologized several times. Yet at one point he questioned whether she should be sitting in an emergency exit row.
In her video, Hage explains that she works out five times a week. She emphasizes that the man knows nothing about her.
"Out of the cool opportunity to get to know people in this world, you miss out on the chance to connect with another person because you decided to judge them instead," Hage told "Today."