Marisa Fotieo, a Chicago teacher on her way to Iceland for a European vacation, found herself in quite the predicament when she discovered that she had tested positive for Covid-19 mid-flight. Trapped some thousands of feet in the air for the remainder of the trip with over 100 passengers on board, Fotieo was forced to stay put in one of the most uncomfortable places on Earth.
“I can’t believe I spent four hours in that bathroom, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” she said in the since-viral Tik-Tok post viewed over 4 million times.
Speaking with ABC News‘ “13 on Your Side” about the crazy experience, Marisa Fotieo said that she was traveling with her father and brother when she started to feel a bit of a sore throat – a common symptom of the virus.
Packing a few rapid tests before takeoff, she took one into the aircraft’s bathroom and quickly discovered that she had tested positive for Covid-19.
“Within about two seconds, the test came back positive,” Marisa Fotieo told ABC News. “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.”
Rocky, whose real name is Ragnhildur Eiriksdottir, kept her calm and asked her to stay put in the bathroom until the flight crew could figure out what to do. Over the intercom, the flight attendant alerted passengers that someone on board had tested positive for Covid-19, and stated that it was, “very important for everyone keep their masks on as much as possible.”
Returning to tell Fotieo that the aircraft was full, with almost 150 people on board, the flight attendant said that she would have to stay in the bathroom for the remainder of the flight since they could not quarantine her in any other way.
Donning two masks to be extra safe and mask the small, she said that the flight attendants aboard Icelandair were very accommodating, even bringing her water and snacks.
“I really think that in this new world we’re living in” Marisa Fotieo said, “everybody just really needs to lookout for one another.”
The Grand Rapids native and Chicago educator told ABC News that she was vigilant about the virus and took several rapid tests in the days leading up to the flight that all had negative results. She said that her father’s health was very important to her, especially after her mother passed away two years ago.
“For the past two years, keeping him safe has really been top-of-mind,” Fotieo revealed, “so knowing that he was on the plane I just knew I had to stay in the bathroom.”
Landing for a layover in Reyjavik, Iceland, her father and brother tested negative and continued their journey to Switzerland, leaving Marisa Fotieo to quarantine in a Reyjavik Red Cross Humanitarian Hotel for 10 days, at no additional charge.
“They have medical personnel here that check on me and bring me food three times a day,” Fotieo said at the time, “and looking back on it, I’m so happy it turned out the way it had to because I’ve been cozy in here.”
Her quarantine period began on Dec. 20. So Dec. 30 will be her last day in isolation.
“I can confidently say that I would have probably cried for 10 day straight had it not been for Rocky,” Marisa Fotieo said of the flight attendant who kept her calm and mailed her a tiny Christmas tree with lights as she quarantined alone in Iceland.
Her father and brother plan to return to Reyjavik after her isolation period is over so that they can still spend time together as a family over New Year’s.