Every so often a story crops up in your news feed that restores your faith in humanity. This is one such story.
A Muslim woman, flying from Scotland to Spain, struck up an unlikely friendship with a fellow passenger who, at first, was too frightened to even sit next to her.
Jiva Akbor had taken her seat and was sending some last minute text messages when the woman seated next to her got up suddenly and left, only to return with two air hostesses.
“She stood there, with a look of fright on her face. I was confused. For a split second I though she had some health issue or something and about to have a panic attack,” Jiva wrote in a Facebook post.
“At that moment she looked at me and said, ‘I saw you write a text message and you wrote Allah on it’.
“She was literally shaking, breathing heavy and had gone flush in the face.”
The air hostesses, who she described as “wonderful”, encouraged the woman to return to her seat as Jiva calmly explained that ‘Allah’ is simply the Arabic word for God.
“I quickly filled her in and told her that ‘I’m just a regular Muslim girl travelling, on my way to tour Spain, I was born and bred in Greater Manchester, England and she has nothing to worry about being sat next to me’.”
After around 15 minutes of conversation Beverly finally began to calm down.
“Before too long I could see remorse in her tone,” she wrote.
“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’.”
The pair continued to chat for the duration of the flight in what Jiva described as the “most intense heart to heart” she’d ever had with a stranger.
“We spoke about our faiths, our families, our upbringing, our views on current events, the sad state the world seems to be in right now and how in effect it’s led to our very real conversation today.
“We spoke about our families, we shared pictures of our loved ones, spoke about my mum’s cooking, about travelling, about having an open heart and view of the world and the souls within it.
“We spoke about Scotland, about England, her job, my job. We spoke about our leaders, about Brexit, the exchange rate. About Pokemon Go, about rollercoasters about where we want to travel. About Mosques, about Churches, about our parents. Our health, our relationships, our plans for the future.
“We talked and we laughed and at some moments had tears in our eyes.”
The two women agreed to stay in touch and exchanged numbers. They’re already texting.
Jiva shared the story because she wanted to remind people "to not believe the scaremongering of politicians and media outlets out there in the world."
"Today I had one of the most interesting and most memorable flights of my life," she concluded the post.
"I met a lady who is deep down inside a wonderful, wonderful human and showed me that the fear-mongering purposely and strategically carried out in this world by the powers-that-be today are very, very real and can make an ordinary person have the most shocking of reactions."
It has already been shared nearly 8,000 times.
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