Maddison Westcott is a 19-year-old student who recently moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. She told BuzzFeed News she was at the gym recently when she overheard an interaction that made her pause.
Maddison was working out with her boyfriend and friend when she overheard a guy, she thought, aggressively hitting on a girl next to her.
She said she had headphones on, but could hear what he was saying through the music.
"To me it sounded like she was getting hit on," she wrote on Twitter. "And from her reaction, which looking back seems like she was just annoyed with him...was unwanted."
Maddison said she has herself experienced unwanted male attention at the gym, so she decided to intervene. She pretended she knew the girl, and walked over to her and asked if she was ready to leave.
But, it turned out the man was actually the girl, named Nicoletta's, boyfriend, and the two were just joking around.
“I turned beet red and I said, 'I'm sorry, I feel so awkward right now,'" she said.
Nicoletta assured Maddison she "appreciated" her looking out for her, and making sure she was OK. In fact, Nicoletta appreciated it so much, she tweeted about it.
"Ricky was just acting like he wasn’t my bf at the gym, saying to me 'you look nice in those leggings, can I take you out some time?'" she wrote. "This girl (that I don’t know) comes up to me and says 'hey you ready to leave?' I informed her he was my bf. BUT GIRL I APPRECIATE YOU."
Her tweet soon went super viral, and many women thought it was a perfect story of girls looking out for each other.
Other women and girls began to share stories of when they were helped out of an uncomfortable situation by a female stranger who was paying attention.
GIRLS PROTECT GIRLS.
"There’s an unspoken sisterhood that forms when we see a guy being bothersome."
Though, as some women shared, other men have helped them out of potentially bad situations, too.
They also batted down the men who still didn't get it.
All of the stories of women protecting each other had some of the commenters getting emotional.
A friend soon alerted Maddison to the viral post, and she weighed in on her side of the story. She said she and Nicoletta have talked, and have mutual friends.
She said she knows Nicoletta appreciated the gesture, but even if she did not, she would still be proud of what she did.
“I don't want to see anything bad happen to another girl," she said. "I know sexual assault is something that happens quite frequently at places that women go [to] alone."
She said she loves how empowering the thread has become.
“I'm glad other women are out there like this," she said.
BuzzFeed News has contacted Nicoletta as well for comment.
Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Stephanie McNeal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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