David Lawrence had just settled into Seat 22F on a Ryanair flight Thursday when he heard a commotion brewing on the other side of the plane.
A few rows behind him, a gray-haired man with dark-rimmed glasses was yelling at a black woman seated along the aisle.
“I heard this man shouting at this woman, saying, ‘You’re in my way. Get out! I don’t want you here next to me!’ ” Lawrence told The Washington Post in a phone interview Sunday. “I couldn’t believe what I heard."
Lawrence grabbed his phone and started to record the encounter, which took place before a scheduled flight from Barcelona to London Stansted Airport. By then, the woman’s daughter had come up and confronted the man.
"She said, ‘Who are you talking to? Don’t shout at her. That’s my mother; she’s disabled,’ " Lawrence recalled, noting that the woman’s mother had boarded the plane in a wheelchair. “He then was saying, ‘I don’t care.’ "
The woman says something back at him, prompting the man to retort angrily: “Don’t talk to me in a f--ing foreign language, you stupid ugly cow!”
Surrounding passengers had mixed reactions to the scene. One man, wearing a black T-shirt and sitting in the row directly behind them, physically tried to intervene, sticking his hand between the seats in front of him and telling the irate passenger to keep his voice down.