Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Little People, big moves | No one can dull Nathayo Smith's sparkle

Published:Saturday | October 13, 2018 | 12:11 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Nathayo Smith
Nathayo Smith
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Clarendon, Jamaica

Imagine driving along Clarendon Park and deciding to stop at one of the gas stations along the stretch. While waiting in line, you are greeted by someone so warm and accommodating that even if you were having a bad day, it no longer matters.

This is the reality for almost everyone who comes into contact with Nathayo Smith, a sales attendant at a Cool Oasis gas station in Clarendon.

Much like her late mother, the 33-year-old is not just a little person, but someone with enough confidence to share with the entire world.

"My mother was an awesome woman; that is where I got my confidence from. Growing up as a little person with my mother also being a little person, I adapted to the life quickly, and there is really nothing an average person can do that I can't."

Smith said that growing up in a single-parent home taught her not just how to be independent and rely on her own strength, but also how to be receptive to the kindness of others.

"When I went to basic school, everybody looked the same; everyone was on the same height. But when you touch primary school, people realise that you are really short, and some kids would laugh at you. To be honest, back then, I would feel a little way, but as I grew older, I realised people have nothing over me, nothing more than height." I won't lie, there are perks to being this short, and some people will even say they wished they were as short as I am, but me know that a just mouth talk ... . But yes, I have had people buy me things, push me up in the line, lift me up and just run to my call," Smith said.

She expressed that one should never take her kindness for weakness, though, or else you will get checked.

"Sometimes people come to you real disrespectful, and you can't always smile with them. Men will come to you with their fantasies and talk about trying out something with me. Me haffi ask dem if dem see 'try out' pon me forehead. I am just like any other woman. They may be tall, but I am short. Yes, me look good, thank you and have a nice day."

Smith added: "You will always meet people, good and bad, but you can't allow the bad to get you down. No matter what they say, I have to push through. If I listened to some people, I wouldn't even be working now. People have told me I am too short to reach [things], but if I can't reach it something can reach it, for me - I can use a stick or a ladder. I don't have to depend on anyone to get it for me."

When asked what she excels at, Smith proudly stated that she is an awesome cook.

"Yeah man, I am a good cook. Some people think with being so blessed with a big bumper I must be good at dancing, but I can't dance. Me can only shake, but I am a great cook. Ackee and saltfish, steamed fish with the okra and carrot, rice and peas with fried chicken, curried goat or tripe and bean yes, that's me."

 

Bodyguard

 

Smith said that life, for her, is even more blissful with her 12-year-old son, who is also her personal bodyguard.

"When I go out with my son and people start staring, he will ask them, 'Why are you looking on my mommy like that?' Then he will say, 'Mommy look where you going, yah. Don't pay them any mind'. That's my boy!"

Having always worked as a sales attendant or counter clerk, Smith said she is looking forward to returning to school in the very near future.

"When I was at Vere Technical High School, I focused on the business subjects, and that's something I want to pursue. I want to be computer-literate, and I want to further my studies in business administration at HEART. You can't watch people, you just have to go out, be yourself, and achieve what you want to achieve. If your heart is clean and your intentions are pure, anything you want, you will get," she added.