People can be very ignorant about disability. Kids especially are generally not educated when it comes to their peers with disabilities and as such ask some very outlandish questions.
Sometimes, the kids are just asking because they’re genuinely curious. This is what happened to Reddit user imarobotaita.
Confused about whether or not she’d done something wrong, she went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for clarification:
“AITA for telling small children who ask about my prosthetic leg that I’m a robot?”
Our original poster, or OP, talked about how she would often use this approach with little kids:
“I (17f[emale]) have a prosthetic leg. I was in public today when a small girl (maybe 5?) asked me what happened to my leg.”
“I whispered ‘I’m secretly a robot, shhh, don’t tell anyone.’ Her eyes went real wide and she whispered back ‘okay’ and scurried back to her mom.”
However, a stranger didn’t care for this so much.
“I always get a kick out of little kids reactions.”
“But then the lady standing behind me told me that I shouldn’t lie to children like that and instead teach them ‘acceptance and body positivity’.”
OP felt odd about this interaction but didn’t believe she’d done anything wrong.
“I told her it’s great to teach children that, but I just like to get a laugh when I can.”
“I only do this sometimes when kids ask, it’s really funny to see their reactions.”
Redditors helped OP decide where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
People thought OP was doing nothing wrong whatsoever.
“This poster gave that little girl a moment of childhood whimsey she’ll remember for a long time.”
“Of course, if the kids are scared out of their minds, that’s another story – but if they’re that young they shouldn’t be familiar with the evil robots like those in the Alien and Terminator series anyway :-).”~Pale_Cranberry1502
“OP made that little girl feel special and made the experience about seeing a prosthetic leg for the first really cool. If OP didn’t haven’t body positivity she’d be hiding her leg and this situation would have never occurred.”
“I’m not a fan of lying to children but this is a lighthearted approach to a question OP is likely asked frequently by children and it’s probably somewhat true. Modern prosthetics are pretty amazing pieces of technology and if OP wants to be a robot all the power to her.”~MiserableProperty
“YTA. You’re a cyborg, not a robot. If you’re going to tell stories, tell the right ones!”~markroth69
“It’s not your responsibility to teach anybody’s children anything.”
“And I’ve seen enough posts here to know that if you told the child the truth you’d get in trouble for sharing personal and potentially gory medical information with someone who’s only just old enough to use the bathroom without supervision.”~WebbieVanderquack
In fact, she may have inadvertently done something really awesome for that child.
“NTA. It’s not your job to teach kids about prosthetics etc.”
“My cousin has scars all.over his legs from multiple surgeries and he always had his nieces and nephews convinced they were from fighting animals in the jungle 🤣”~tinkerbell2306
“NTA. For context when I was a teenager one of my friends who was born without arms told a kid that his arms fell off because he didn’t eat his vegetables.”~1ugogimp
“NTA, that’s amazing. If these people have issues with lying to children, then you can insist they be the first person to explain that Santa isn’t real.”~rileygreyy
“NTA!!! And here’s why!”
“I actually met a dude who did something similar when I was like 7.”
“I was running around with friends when I skid to a halt in front of him, see he is on crutches and that he is missing his left leg. He is looking at me with a gentle smile.”
“‘What happened to your leg, mister?’ ‘Oh, it fell off and started running around this farm. I’m trying to catch it.'”
“(It was like a playground farm combo in the middle of a town) ‘I’ll help you catch it!’ And off I ran while he shouted a laughing thank you.”
“I still think about that interaction sometimes and smile about it. It’s one of my best memories.”~MatildeTheTraveler
With a whimsical memory, she will always remember how she thought a girl with a prosthesis was a robot.
“NTA that’s funny as hell! I can see the woman’s perspective; this was a good opportunity for a child to learn that sometimes people have a prosthetic.”
“But, it’s not your responsibility to serve as an example of new learning for children; it is the parents’ job to teach their child about differences among people. And this bystander should just mind her own business.”~christina0001
“NTA does this lady want kids to stop watching movies about mermaids? Fairies? Dinosaurs? Being able to truly believe that people are magic creatures is like, one of the most fun things about being a kid.”
“What are we supposed to rebrand Santa as a kindly body positive man with an affinity for red outfits? Who hurt this lady?”~smootfloops
“NAH. You are helping curious kids hold on to their belief in magic and mystery just a little longer. Kids get jaded soon enough.”
“Even momentarily believing in robot people walking around could result in the next engineer or biologist or the next innovator for prosthetic limbs.”
“Twenty years from now that little girl might make your first fully functioning, average appearing leg. So yeah, keep doing what you are doing.”~pokey1984
“NTA. I suppose the know-it-all nosy woman behind you also thinks you should’ve told the little girl that the tooth fairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus aren’t real, since that woman is so much into ‘reality’?”
“Personally, you wouldn’t have been out of line to tell Ms. Nosy that you’re still a juvenile and believing you’re a robot (or like Iron Man) is part of YOUR acceptance and body positivity so she just needs to shut up and mind her own business instead of telling you how to feel or think.”~just_n_observer
Magic and whimsy are important for kids to experience on a daily basis.
OP provided that for this girl today. One day, she will learn the truth, and hopefully will smile upon her robot guardian.