Dear Mik and Mike: Yesterday afternoon I was on a bike ride with a friend and as we approached one of the small towns we go through, we saw a child, about six years old, on a Segway, riding in the bike lane. The Segway had been modified for his height and he was moving along pretty fast. As a father of two small children I’m always conscious of kids, and I didn’t see anyone with this child, so I became a little concerned for his safety, especially since he was riding in the street and had no helmet. I got up behind him and I called out, “Hey kid! Is your mom around? Do you need help?” Well, he turned his head, and to my shock and awe, the kid was not a kid, but a MIDGET, who yelled to me, “Eff you, a-hole!” in a growly smoker’s voice. I felt like such a tool. Was I wrong? I can’t stop thinking about it.
Assumptions are always a dangerous route to travel. Think about it: if you assumed everything in life, all kids would be midgets. Now that I think about it, that’s not far off. Anyway, in this case, an apology was probably in order, although it sounds like the small person would not have been too interested in one. It’s always better to take the high road, though. To answer you question, you were wrong to assume this fellow was a child, but he was also wrong to respond the way he did. So, you’re even.
Just in case you run into another person of this stature, the PC term these days is “Little People”. Calling someone a “midget” is like saying “chinaman” when you mean “asian”, or “homo” when you mean “gay”. I might have been tempted to tell him it was his smoking that stunted his growth, but that’s just me… It’s hard to put aside your protective feelings for all kids once you’re a dad or a mom, so I don’t think you did the wrong thing in being concerned. But you might have shouted a cheery “Sorry, dude!” as you passed him.