Marisa Fotieo: Woman goes viral for spending 4 hours in aircraft loo after positive COVID test

'There were like 150 people on board so I said I would just stay in the bathroom for the rest of the flight,' Fotieo said


                            Marisa Fotieo: Woman goes viral for spending 4 hours in aircraft loo after positive COVID test
Screenshots from Marisa Fotieo's viral video (TikTok/ @marisaefotieo)

A Chicago woman has gone viral on the internet after she documented her quarantine inside an airplane’s bathroom after she tested positive for Covid-19 mid-air. Marisa Fotieo shared her video on TikTok on December 20, and it has reportedly been viewed more than two million times. Currently, Fotieo is isolated in Iceland as she battles coronavirus.

The woman, who teaches early childhood education, told 13 On Your Side that when holidays approached, she made a plan with her brother and father to visit Switzerland. She took an Icelandair flight to Reykjavik, Iceland, with her family on December 20 from Newark, New Jersey. An hour into the flight, Fotieo reportedly began feeling a sore throat and went to the loo to conduct a rapid test on herself.

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She said, “And within about two seconds, the test came back positive. I freaked out and ran out of the bathroom and found the first person I could see. Luckily it was this amazing flight attendant named Rocky.” She continued that the staffer Rocky, whose full name was Ragnhildur "Rocky" Eiríksdóttir, asked her to be in the bathroom while she found out what could be done about the situation.

Fotieo told 13 On Your Side: “I could hear something over the intercom that said something about a passenger on board testing positive, and that it is very important for everyone keep their masks on as much as possible,” before noting that Rocky returned to tell her that the flight was full, so it was difficult to keep her away from other flyers. “There were like 150 people on board so I said I would just stay in the bathroom for the rest of the flight. Rocky was so sweet and brought me water and snacks and told me that would be my own little space,” she added.

While stuck inside the bathroom, Fotieo filmed her journey and uploaded it on TikTok from where it went viral. “I can't believe I spent four hours in that bathroom but you've got to do what you've got to do. I really think that in this new world we're living in, everybody just really needs to lookout for one another,” she said.

Fotieo mentioned that she’s very serious and conscious about the virus. So, before leaving for the trip, she took five tests but all came negative. Speaking about her father, she said, “For the past two years, keeping him safe has really been top-of-mind, so knowing that he was on the plane I just knew I had to stay in the bathroom.”

After landing in Reykjavik, Fotieo’s brother and father were also tested and their results came negative. So, they continued their journey to Switzerland while she went for a 10-day quarantine in Iceland at a Red Cross Humanitarian Hotel with no charge. She noted, “They have medical personnel here that check on me and bring me food three times a day and looking back on it, I'm so happy it turned out the way it had to because I've been cozy in here.”

Fotieo was alone on Christmas too, but she said Rocky made it special for her as she sent “a little Christmas tree with lights to dangle around it, a note, a warm dinner, and presents to open on Christmas day”. She said, “I can confidently say that I would have probably cried for 10 day straight had it not been for Rocky and Icelandair as a whole really made this experience joyful and memorable, and it was really so heartwarming.”

She also expressed her surprise at going viral. She stated, “I'm just happy that through the video, people are able to hear the story of how a stranger can care so deeply for another stranger. It's also fun to share because I really believe that in life, everybody is tied together by an invisible string and I get excited when I finally get to meet those people along the way, and Rocky is definitely one of them.”

Fotieo’s quarantine is reportedly ending on December 30; after that she plans to spend four days with her father and brother in Iceland, where she’ll enjoy snow-mobiling and see the Northern Lights.

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