Yesterday afternoon, coming out of a store, I was passed by a young boy (probably about 4 or 5) and his mother. As we passed, he turned to his mother and exclaimed, "Mom, that man is really fat!" Moms expression quickly changed from smiling to one of horror, and she pulled her son aside to speak to him.
Seeing what was happening, I circled around, giving mom enough time to speak to her child before I approached. He was ashamed and embarrassed, so I praised him for being observant that I was, indeed, fat, and encouraged him to continue to observe the world. Then I reinforced what mom had told him about sometimes, it's not nice to point out the things we observe about other people.
Still feeling shame over what he had said, he mumbled an apology to the ground, so I asked him to please look at me to apologize, which he did. I then accepted his apology and shook his little hand, all the while mom behind him is mouthing "thank you" to me.
Kids of that age are honest. Someone once said that until the age of 9 or 10, kids are a frightening mix of innocent and psychopath. They're busy exploring their world; they don't have time to consider the feelings of others. I can't be angry with a child who has discovered something, and rush to tell their mom about the fat man. I can't be angry with the mom who was clearly distressed that her child would say something like that.
Let's face it, I'm a fat guy. And I'm comfortable with that. Better to turn this incident into a teachable moment than to become angry or offended.