Surprising things come in small packages. Things like strength and the power of the underdog along with a renewed sense of hope and justice tied up in a bow. There’s a natural instinct in most of us that feels a need to root for the little guy and see the less powerful take a stand against their tormentor and win. This is the reason movies like Rudy, Rocky, Remember The Titans and other guy favorite flicks that may or may not begin with the letter R are so popular. Maybe our need to cheer for the least likely to win has something to do with subconsciously connecting the win to our own big dreams and goals meeting success despite any shortcomings or disadvantages we might have. When the less advantaged competitor wins, we feel like the impossible is now possible.
After all, when you see the little guy in a situation overcome adversity and emerges victorious, don’t you feel the urge to celebrate? In this list, we are showing you actual little guys – little people – who have waged war and come out on top. Get ready to celebrate with these fifteen Davids that valiantly fought back against their Goliaths.
15. What Would You Do?
The TV show, What Would You Do? with host John Quinones tackles different controversial ethical and moral dilemma situations in every episode. This particular episode is based on one man, Casey and his wife, Jennifer’s real life struggles. Casey and Jennifer are both little people and have faced bullying in their adult lives on a day-to-day basis. They wanted the audience to see how frustrating and disheartening their battle can be. With the help of three actors, one being a little person, real life people got the opportunity to help a little person struggling with two big bullies… or to participate.
The set-up in a grocery store involved the two tall men (actors) asking random strangers to take a photo with the little person (actor) who was unwilling to be in the photo. Sadly, many people obliged and took the photo. One woman even said, “get closer together.” But in the end, there were a few heroes who stepped up to the plate. Casey and Jennifer felt vindicated by telling their story and knowing that there are people out there who care.
14. “Midget Lawyer” Fires Back – With A Lawsuit!
This involves not an actual little person but a little person lie. David Ratner, who is in all actuality more than five feet tall, was called a “midget lawyer” in a smear campaign by Wall Street CEO Benjamin Wey after Wey was ordered to pay $18 million to a former 25-year-old Swedish female intern in a sexual harassment lawsuit. When she declined his advances and he found out that she had taken a lover, he used a blog site to trash her character. Apparently not happy with the verdict, Wey fired back with snarky comments and digs about lawyers Morelli and Ratner on the blog site, creating the fake ad above and also using a play on words to call Ratner “short on the law.” Clever. Morelli and Ratner decided to be clever themselves and filed a defamation lawsuit against Wey for the big and tall amount of $300 million.
13. Amy Roloff Fights Back Against Ex With A Tell-All Book
Fame is a bittersweet lady. The bright lights and twisted complication that comes with fame proved to be too much, perhaps among other things, for the love that once seemed so strong between America’s favorite little couple, Amy and Matt Roloff. The stars of Little People, Big World ended their 30-year marriage recently and though they claim their divorce is amicable, Amy is coming out with a tell-all book. You see, both Amy and Matt have moved on to other relationships and some fans started speculating early on that Matt especially seemed to have moved on in a major way pretty fast. Amy was shocked when she learned just who he had moved on with… the family’s longtime farm manager, Caryn Chandler. Amy has known Caryn for years so even though she and Matt are now divorced, this smacked of betrayal.
12. “Don’t Do It, Charlie!”
But Charlie sure as heck is gonna do it… despite the multiple pleas from his vertically blessed and seemingly more advantaged challenger. Even though Charlie is much shorter, the man in the blue sweatshirt seems to be very intimidated by him. Has a showdown happened before? It seems that this whole mess started over a cigarette but we would wager a guess to say that some major ill will and hurt feelings have been brewing between these two for quite some time. Charlie is having none of it now and is out for some serious payback. He even has some fans on the sideline cheering him on. One eager fan gets up to offer some street justice herself. In the end, it gets out of hand but it goes to show you, size really doesn’t matter.
11. John Dodson – A Mental Midget And Barking Chihuahua?
UFC champion Demetrious Johnson did not have nice things to say about his competitor, John Dodson, two years ago before a fight. Pre-fight trash talk is not only allowed but encouraged among competitors in order to hype the fight up and encourage the fans to get excited and hopefully spend big bucks on tickets and Pay-Per-View. But Johnson may have taken things too far by calling Dodson a “mental midget” and saying that he needs to be put in his place like a barking, yapping Chihuahua. His inconsiderate comments are offensive to little people everywhere. The real irony of his statements comes when you discover that Johnson and Dodson are the exact same height at 5’3 and weigh the exact same number of pounds, 125. Johnson’s own nickname is Mighty Mouse!
10. A “Small” Order Of Chicago-Style Justice
It wasn’t exactly that small of an order for justice considering how the little person managed to knock the tall man in the red shirt down in an effortless sort of manner and still seemed to have control of the situation. According to the poster, the man in the red shirt is 6’3 which is taller than the average person (the average man is said to be 6 feet tall), making the feat all that more impressive. The tall man’s blows appear to bounce off the little person in the white shirt as he bobs and weaves, ready to land another punch and lay this Paul Bundy size bully out cold on the mean streets of Chicago. We don’t know exactly what transpired before the fight but we do know that this little person earned himself a reputation as one not to be messed with that day.
9. Tiny Twerk Tussle
The Little Women reality show franchise now currently on Lifetime is very successful and one of the most popular shows seems to be Little Women: Atlanta. The cast includes a slew of fiery, saucy characters including a pair of twins, Amanda and Andrea and two friends, Emily and Bri, who go by the nicknames of “Right Cheek” and “Left Cheek.” It just wouldn’t be a reality show if everyone got along so of course, they don’t and one evening while everyone was out at a club, there was a showdown on the dance floor between the twins and the cheeky friends. Apparently, the cheeks made comments to the twins that weren’t appreciated. Feeling the need to defend themselves against their fellow little women, they became confrontational. One thing led to another and hair was pulled, lots of skin was shown and ratings went up.
8. With A Little Help From My Friends
The popular show, Little Women, just goes to prove that little people are the same as everyone else. When given a reality show, they will fight, curse each other out for relatively mundane reasons and give themselves plenty to be embarrassed about later in life. When Amanda showed up to Caylea’s football-viewing party at a bar, she thought she was in for a good time but as soon as Brichelle made a comment insinuating that Amanda smoked crack, it was on like Gary Coleman kicking ass doing security detail. Naturally, Amanda tossed the remaining contents of her drinks Brichelle’s way and Brichelle brought the fury against Amanda and her whole crew, eventually bringing her regular-sized family members in for back up! There are two divided camps on who the real bully was in this instance but it’s safe to say that each side got a couple of good hits in.
7. Undercover Little Person Exposes Ignorance
Jon Novick was fed up with ignorance and had plenty of reason to be. In 2013, he moved from a small town where he was raised with people who accepted him and treated him fairly, just like the regular guy he is, to the sometimes temperamental and always opinionated harshness of New York City where Jon encountered cruel ignorance in many ways. From a young girl asking her mother loudly, “What is he?” when he passed to people constantly hounding him for selfie requests (or rudely taking “secret” photos without permission) as if he was dressed up for photo opportunities and not just a regular young 20-something guy going about his business. Jon decided enough was enough and with the help of a tiny button cam, he took to the streets of the Big Apple to show the world how inconsiderate words and actions can hurt. As Jon says, “The next time you see someone who is different from you, think about their day… think about what part of their day do you want to be?”
6. Formerly Bullied Little Person Strikes It Big And Speaks Out
Today, Brazilian native Paulo Dos Santos who is barely 4 feet tall is an acknowledged star in the circus world. Many say that his acrobatic skills and showmanship are the best around, bar none. The husband and father of three travels with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s The Greatest Show On Earth and carries the title of Capoeirista of Ipanema, using a type of Afro-Brazilian martial arts style to stun his audiences. But things weren’t always so great for the star. Paulo was brought up with an alcoholic father and many bullies and naysayers who laughed at his dreams of being a performer and making a living off of his talents. Proudly, Paulo has now proven them all wrong and gives motivational speeches to young children at elementary schools today along with his friend and Ringmaster of the circus, Johnathan Lee Iverson, who was also a victim of bullying in his own childhood.
5. Cara Reedy Doesn’t Let People Get Away With Insensitive Behavior Towards Little People
Cara Reedy says that life as a little person is like being a celebrity without fame or money. It’s even the tagline of her blog, Infamously Short. Everywhere she goes in public, she is targeted. Sometimes by staring eyes, people snapping photos, insensitive remarks and even sexually harassing comments. She says that men approach her on the street and say, “I want to try it. Sex with you would be different.” When she declines, they act as if she is the one with the problem. She has been bullied since she can remember and was even treated poorly by some of her teachers. Today, as a grown adult, she is subjected to people pointing, laughing and staring at her. “Look at it,” some people say.
She used to internalize her anger but now she has learned to speak up immediately whenever she catches someone being insensitive and tells them what the proper terms (person with dwarfism or little person instead of “midget”, for example) are. She points out their rude behavior so they can learn from it. Being an activist for little people is important to Cara who is now a researcher, photographer and videographer. Success is the best revenge.
4. Small Start, Big Fame Found On American Idol
In 2013, American Idol contestant Matheus Fernandes, standing at 4’9, showed the judges that his frame may be small but his voice and talent come in one size only: super. He said that he was bullied so much in middle school and high school and shed so many tears because of the bullying that the pain made him stronger. He sang a powerful song that moved judge Mariah Carey to tears and earned him a unanimous green light to the next phase. He said that all of the previous “no’s” he has heard in life and everything he has been through prepared him for that shining moment. Matheus also went on to compete on The Glee Project and has released several songs popular with the Latino music community.
3. Survivor Called Munchkin
Phlebotomist Leif Manson from San Diego was the first little person chosen for a cast of the hit TV show, Survivor. Leif starred in 2011’s Survivor: One World. Dealing with bullies was unfortunately nothing new for Leif. He has been dealing with mean-spirited bullies since childhood and said that he learned to rise above it, knowing that they were trying to take him down only because they were miserable with themselves. But Leif probably wasn’t fully prepared to meet a grown bully in one of his fellow Survivor castaway castmates. But that’s exactly what happened when Colton Cumbie, known as one of the nastiest and cruelest players of the game, directly made fun of Leif and called him a “munchkin.” Leif acknowledges that he was not the only one on Cumbie’s list of victims.
“He really needs to watch his back from now on – he pissed off a lot of people,” Leif said. Although he wanted an apology from Cumbie, who had to leave the show early due to a bacterial infection, Leif doesn’t regret doing the show and said that his size actually helped a lot in most of the challenges he was required to do. Survivor in more ways than one!
2. Don’t Believe The Height, Believe The Hype
At 4’5”, Jahmani Swanson walks with enough swagger for a 6’5 man and carries more than confidence for two. Known as “The Michael Jordan of Little People” he doesn’t let his dreams of playing in a “tall person’s game” stop him and he’s been so successful that he goes on tours shooting hoops and on his downtime, he speaks to children encouraging them to follow their dreams and to despite any bullies that may come their way. Jahmani comes from a family of little people as his mother and brother share the dwarfism condition with him. Perhaps because of his mother’s unapologetic attitude, he has tons of self-assurance. “When I’m on the court,” Jahmani says. “And I’m standing next to a 6-foot dude, you’re no different than me. You’re just taller. We’re both on this court for a reason. I’m here for a reason.” And based on Jahmani’s ever-increasing fandom, that’s definitely true.
1. A Mom Learns To Adapt And Overcome
Military wife and mother of two, Tiffanie DiDonato, made the painful decision to have bone-lengthening surgery in order to take her height from 3’8 to 4’10. Tiffanie felt the elective surgery was necessary in order to properly take care of her children and says that it makes all the difference in her day-to-day life when reaching for things in the kitchen and getting dressed, for example.
She underwent dozens of surgeries and sometimes uses crutches or a wheelchair to help conserve energy and to help get around but she has plenty of love, mother’s care and spunk to give her kids the parent they deserve. Tiffanie has overcome many obstacles in life and wants people who might have judged her in the past to know that just because she looks different doesn’t have any bearing on her life — she’s happily married and raising thriving children. Her husband says that he’s proud of his wife and she’s truly taken the military motto to heart: adapt and overcome. “Oorah,” Tiffanie says to that.