Despite spending much of his childhood in a hospital and facing continual discrimination because of his dwarfism, Matt Roloff says his experiences have led him to success in life.
Roloff, from the hit TLC series, “Little People, Big World,” spoke at the Lory Student Theater last night and encouraged the sold out crowd to take every experience, whether good or bad, and make it into an opportunity.
“I was always determined to go and make the best of every situation,” Roloff said to the sold out crowd. “I had a spirit of resiliency. The best things come out of the worst things.”
Roloff recalled a time when he was let go from a huge sales position due to his dwarfism but was able to turn the worst moment of his life into one of the best things he ever did in his career.
Roloff said had been hired after his friend talked about Roloff’s impressive negotiating skills and sales successes to the company over a phone conversation.
What Roloff’s friend forgot to tell the company was that Roloff was four feet tall.
The new boss wasn’t happy when he met him on the first day of training.
“I’ll never forget the look on my new boss’ face,” he said.
Roloff was never given a chance to prove himself, and he was fired two weeks later.
Roloff took advantage of his resiliency and took the devastating loss as an opportunity to finally volunteer with Little People of America. Roloff switched gears and began teaching kids about dwarfism and disproving myths. One of the kids happened to have a father who was a TV producer, and the Roloff family soon became a TLC success. The Roloffs just finished their third season and Roloff said the show has allowed him to reach out to millions of people who watch to be inspired every week.
Brandi Van Anne, a junior economics major, is a little person, and has known Roloff since she was twelve. She said she hopes students continue to realize that size is not a factor in employment.
“It gives me hope, especially entering the workforce soon,” Van Anne, a junior economics major, said.
She expressed the persecutions she often faces in watching movies and people not being sensitive to other less discussed ethnicities. Van Anne said as a little person it is demeaning when people use terms like midget and dwarf or little person is preferable, but calling a person by their name is the best.
Senior Reporter Kaeli West can be reached at email@example.com