The internet was stunned after a man revealed how his wife was allegedly assaulted by a man on a recent flight from Orlando to Phoenix.
Faraaz Sareshwala shared a Twitter thread with his followers on Saturday detailing the incident, which occurred on Southwest Airlines flight 1630.
With 39 flights per week between Orlando International Airport and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Sareshwala’s wife, Saarah, was on her way home from the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Orlando.
Sarah’s husband explained in the now-viral Twitter thread, which has 115,000 likes as of Tuesday, that she was resting her head on the tray table when the incident occurred.
“This man violently pushed his seat back in an attempt to hurt Saarah while her head was there,” wrote Sareshwala, a Google software engineer, on Twitter.
“When she awoke, she assumed it was an accident; someone falling down in their own seat after returning from the restroom or something,” he wrote. “Saarah went to the bathroom to check her injuries after suspecting she had bumped the man’s chair while sleeping.” A mother and daughter who were awake at the time were sitting next to her. They asked for ice from the crew for Saarah and confronted the man.”
When confronted, however, the man became enraged and yelled and cursed at the three women. Saarah informed the flight crew, who had initially offered to switch her seat.
“Only when the mother mentioned (to another flight attendant) that this was a physical assault did they offer to call the police,” Sareshwala wrote.
She chose not to switch seats because she felt safer with the women she was sitting with, but Sareshwala explained that it didn’t end there.
“This man continued to spew racial slurs and misogynistic venom at Saarah throughout the rest of the flight. In an attempt to injure Saarah, he kept pushing his seat back “Sareshwala elaborated.
When other passengers noticed the problem, Sareshwala said the man’s attitude changed: “[He] abruptly became animated with those around him, complimenting potential witnesses. Saarah was escorted to a safe location by police, who barred the aggressor and his wife from leaving.”
Southwest Airlines’ spokesperson told Newsweek: “After learning of a problem on a Southwest flight on Saturday, the crew requested that law enforcement meet the plane when it arrived. Southwest Airlines has a zero-tolerance policy for any alleged harassment or assault on our customers or employees.”
“Saarah never said anything to this man before or after the incident,” Sareshwala said. “Even if she did bump his seat by accident, it didn’t warrant using racial slurs, misogynistic comments, or a violent, repeated, physical assault.”
According to a Phoenix Police Department spokesperson, “Officers from the Phoenix Police Department assigned to Sky Harbor Airport responded to a disturbance call in an airplane that landed in Phoenix. Officers were directed to two men who were causing a commotion. Officers conducted an assault investigation and wrote a report. Both men were freed.”
Sareshwala later tweeted that the Phoenix police had forwarded the information to the FBI.
“They said that because the incident occurred above the Gulf of Mexico, it was outside of their jurisdiction and that the FBI would have to get involved,” he wrote. “We don’t have an FBI case number but the Phoenix police said that if the FBI thinks there is enough evidence to press charges they will reach back out.”
“We still don’t know why he became so violent,” the husband tweeted. “However, I do know that my wife has never felt as violated, voiceless, or powerless as she does now.”
Users on the social media platform were outraged by the account and rushed to wish Saarah well.
According to one response: “This man is unequivocally racist, rude, obnoxious, and dangerous. He should face physical assault charges and be barred from flying.”
Another user tweeted: “I’m not sure why people like this aren’t barred from flying. They are a threat to everyone else on board.”