When Michigan schoolteacher Marisa Fotieo was on her way to Switzerland with her brother and father a few days before Christmas, she was flush with excitement.
But things got really crappy when she tested positive for COVID-19 in the middle of her Icelandair flight. So much so that she quarantined herself in the airplane bathroom for five hours.
“It was a crazy experience,” Marisa Fotieo told NBC News.
About an hour into her flight to Reykyavik, where she had planned to connect to a flight to Switzerland, Fotieo’s throat began to to hurt. So she went to the bathroom with one of the rapid tests she brought with her just in case she needed them.
“I just took my rapid test and I brought it into the bathroom, and within what felt like two seconds there were two lines (suggesting a positive test),” Fotieo said.
She quickly got a positive test consequence and, understandably, freaked out. She then exited the bathroom and met flight accompanying Ragnhildur “Rocky” Eiríksdóttir.
Since the flight was complete, there was only one way for Fotieo to socially distance herself from other passengers.
“There were like 150 people on board so I said I would just stay in the bathroom for the rest of the flight,” Fotieo told Grand Rapids ABC affiliate WZZM.
Luckily for Fotieo, Eiríksdóttir was there for her.
“Rocky was so sweet and brought me water and snacks, and told me that would be my own little space,” Fotieo said.
Fotieo kept herself busy by ― what else? ― recording a TikTok video.
When the flight landed, Fotieo had to quarantine in a Red Cross hotel, but Eiríksdóttir offered to keep in touch in case she needed anything.
“She bought me flowers and a little Christmas tree with lights so I could hang it,” Fotieo told NBC news. “It was so heartfelt, and she’s just an angel.”
Fotieo’s isolaton period lasted 10 days until Dec. 30, but said Eiríksdóttir’s efforts made her feel a little less alone.
“I can confidently say that I would have probably cried for 10 days straight had it not been for Rocky,” Fotieo told WZZM TV. “And Icelandair as a whole really made this experience joyful and noticable, and it was really so heartwarming.”
Fotieo may not have spent Christmas in Switzerland as planned, but her dad and brother plan to join her in Reykjavik when her quarantine ends. They plan to use four days in Iceland snow-mobiling and seeing the northern lights.
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