Despite a challenging interaction with a fellow passenger on an airplane, Tammy Nelson stood her ground and chose not to surrender her seat for the sake of a mother to be with her children. To defend her position, the woman took to TikTok, where she shared a video that quickly went viral.
The incident in question took place last July on a Delta Airlines flight from Cincinnati, OH to San Jose, CA. When Tammy Nelson, CEO of “fidget jewelry” brand CONQUERing, boarded the plane, she found a strange woman sitting in her assigned seat.
What Would You Do?
In a TikTok post with over 4.6 million views, Nelson shared a video of herself leaning against an airplane window and rolling her eyes. The text on-screen described her predicament.
“What would you do?” Nelson asked fellow Internet users. “I got on the plane, and a woman was sitting in my seat.”
“When I mentioned it to her, she said, ‘Oh, you want to sit here? I thought we could switch because these are my kids.’” The strange woman then pointed at the people seated in the middle and aisle seats of the row.
We Can Switch If You Have a Window Seat
Since Nelson preferred to sit by the window, she conceded to a switch under the condition that the woman had a window seat. “[The mom] points to the row behind us and says, ‘Mine is right there.’ It’s the middle seat,” Nelson added.
Unwilling to sit in the middle seat for a four-and-a-half-hour flight, Nelson refused the woman’s offer and requested that the stranger vacate her assigned seat.
She Didn’t Understand The Concern
In the caption of her viral post, Nelson defended her actions by adding: “Before anyone comes after me… the kids looked like they were about 11 and 15 years old. And the mom was in arms-reach of both of them from the middle seat in the row behind us.”
According to Nelson’s caption, the mom decided to voice her discontent by loudly complaining to the person seated beside her for the next quarter of an hour, well within earshot.
Unfortunately for her, the upset mom did not find a sympathetic ear. “[The seat neighbor] actually defended me – several times,” Nelson recalled. “It was so kind, and I appreciated it so much because I was feeling really guilty.”
@myconquering Having had only 90 minutes of sleep the night before and knowing I had to give a presentation to 500 people, I desperately needed some sleep, so I did not agree to switch seats. 🤷♀️ Before anyone comes after me… the kids looked like they were about 11 and 15 years old. And the mom was in arms-reach of both of them from the middle seat in the row behind us. The mom proceeded to complain for at least 15 minutes to the person next to her loud enough for me to hear. But the woman actually defended me – several times. It was so kind and I appreciated it so much because I was feeling really guilty. 🤦♀️ ##airplaneseat##seatswitching##airplanekarens ♬ original sound – MyCONQUERing
Social Media Users Responded to The Story
An overwhelming majority of TikTok users in the comment section expressed support for Nelson’s decision to stand her ground. “The amount of families who aren’t paying to select their seats together is mind-blowing! You were 100% right to not give up your seat,” reads a comment with over 17 thousand likes.
Another user pointed out the mom’s audacity in assuming Nelson would switch: “I am extremely bothered by the fact that she automatically sat in your seat and was like, ‘Oh, I thought we’d switch…’ What?!”
“I’ve offered my seat on many occasions when I realized families were split up,” interjected another TikTok user. “HOWEVER, I’d draw the line at someone trying to shame me into it.”
“Nope. If it’s not an upgrade, it’s a sacrifice,” decreed the top-voted comment.
She Initally Thought She Was Mistaken
In an interview with Newsweek, Nelson revealed that when she first saw the woman in her seat, she initially thought it was a misunderstanding.
“I double-checked my boarding pass, thinking I may have had the wrong row,” Nelson told journalists. “When I confirmed I was looking at the correct seat, I thought she must have just mistakenly sat in the wrong seat.”
The woman even seemed “shocked” when Nelson informed her that it was her seat, going so far as to ask, “Oh – you want to sit here?”
She Explained Why She Didn’t Give Up Her Seat
Poor travelers will sympathize with the reason that ultimately drove Nelson’s decision to keep her seat. “I get motion sickness during takeoff and landing if I can’t see out the window,” she explained. Combined with a sleepless night, Nelson needed the rest a window seat could provide.
“On that particular day, I only had 90 minutes of sleep the night before,” the CEO revealed. “And I was headed into a high-pressure work week where I would be presenting to 500 people and really needed to be at my very best, so getting a little sleep on that flight was extra-important.”
Her Final Advice
Nelson’s advice to others in the same situation? “Be to be kind and consider the request, but also to go with your gut and feel confident in standing your ground,” she counseled. “One person’s lack of planning doesn’t need to be an inconvenience to you.”
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This article was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Source.
Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.