One of World's Smallest Men, Stands 27-Inches Tall


Guinness Book of World Records Defends Publication

According to Craig Glenday, editor in chief of the Guinness Book of World Records, less than 5 percent of the publication is based on "human body" sizes.

"It's something we are really conscious of," said Glenday. "We don't want to be seen as exploitive."

"We do it in as sensitive way as possible," he said. "We don't want to expose anything the record holder doesn't want the public to know. Some don't even care to publish the record. We don't seek people out --- they mostly come to us."

In fact, Hernandez approached Guinness about his height. The publication sent someone to his home to verify his size. Glenday says too many people, even doctors, "basically lie" about their measurements.

"Sometimes it seems we are exploiting people because we publish a book that makes money," he said. "But a case inspires doctors to discuss a case -- to see a person in the middle of the jungle who gets all sorts of help and a specialist who want to do what they can for them. To me, that's encouraging."

In the film, when Hernandez develops cataracts, a Colombian medical clinic offers to help him for free. But in the return, they wanted him to help set up a charity for orphans with eye problems and promise him a Jeep if he can meet their fundraising goals.

Hernandez is inspired to help children in need, but his appearances at local events, signing autographs and allowing people to photograph, garner him little money.

Fame also brings fear and unwanted attention. In church, parishioners pull his prominent ears and can't take their hands off the 27-inch man. "I don't like people to touch me or pick me up," says Hernandez.

During half-time at a soccer game among thousands of unruly fans, Hernandez is singled out by the home team's mascot -- a giant stuffed lion -- who taunts the man, even putting his small head in the fake animal's mouth.

Hernandez is clearly terrified, but he knows he must endure the humiliation or he will lose a source of income for the family. The money -- sometimes as little as $85 a day for an appearance at a local shop -- has helped the family move from the high country to settle in the barrios of Bogota.

"People think we make millions, but we don't," says his mother, who uses the profits to run a textile business on the top of their house.

But even that dries up as Hernandez loses his title in October 2010, and he says he feels "empty and alone." But his mother, ever the optimist, urges him not to despair and to send the Nepalese boy a congratulatory gift.

A psychologist warns Hernandez's mother that she has coddled him too much for him to cope in the real world, but she laments, "I will always see Edward as my little one, even though he is 24. He is always my little boy."

The Jeep that so many -- the medical clinic and car dealers -- promised him along the way, never materializes.

Hernandez still dreams of running a farm in the highlands, where he has a large extended family, and marrying a girl he says can be "short or tall."

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 14430176.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...