On what she called "one of the most interesting and most memorable" flights of her life, Jiva Akbor had an experience that started with prejudice, but remarkably ended in unexpected friendship.
This is Jiva, a Muslim woman who was recently traveling from Scotland to Spain. When she got a message on WhatsApp, telling her that her Muslim colleagues in London had been the victims of a robbery, she sent them a supportive message.
The message included the words, "May Allah make the day easy for you all."
What happened next triggered the remarkable part of the story.
In a Facebook post, Jiva wrote,
The lady sat next to me asked if she could get out, thinking she wanted the toilet I got up let her out, and sat back down in my seat. A few moments later she returned and so I got up again and waited for her to take her seat. Only I looked at her face and she was in sheer panic, clearly flustered and didn't get into the seat immediately.
The lady had returned with two flight attendants behind her. The woman was hesitant to take her seat, even after both the hostesses and Jiva encouraged her to do so.
That's when the woman revealed her source of unease.
At that moment she looked at me and said, 'I saw you write a text message and you wrote Allah on it.' My heart stopped. And I thought Oh Ma Goddd.
Jive wrote that it was her "biggest fear" happening in real time. People around her seat noticed the scene, too.
But after explaining that there were no other open seats on the plane, the attendants did something completely unexpected.
The hostess then added, directly to the lady, 'But YOU are free to leave the flight if you wish.'
The woman stayed on the flight, but Jiva describes still seeing the woman in a state of immense and noticeable panic. From that moment on, Jiva tried talking to her. It took a while, but Jiva explained herself.
Before too long I could see remorse in her tone, I think she was shocked at her own reaction and the realisation of what she had thought of me was setting in. In her own words she said 'it's so scary what the media can make us think' and 'I just panicked.'
A three-hour long conversation ensued. This conversation resulted in an image that's completely different from the earlier parts of the story.
But it's the entire Facebook post that truly sums up this fascinating tale. You can check it out below:
Citations: Woman got scared by Muslim plane passenger – but it didn't end up how you'd think Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2016/07/20/woman-got-scared-by-muslim-plane-passenger-but-it-didnt-end-up-how-youd-think-6019081/#ixzz4F3JDeE18 (Metro UK)