British baroness Michelle Mone figured she was just having a fun moment when she scooped up a small boy for a picture after a speech to a group of entrepreneurs in Vietnam.
It turned out he was actually a 22-year-old man. Whoops!
"Lady Mone's initial reaction was one of total shock — though this was some time after the pictures,'' Rory Grant, a spokesperson for Mone, told TODAY. "After the event, people from the audience began asking, 'Is it a British custom to pick people up?' This, along with him being so heavy, made the penny drop."
After giving new meaning to the notion of "picking up a man," Mone had a sense of humor about it on Twitter, calling it a "most embarrassing moment." Mone was alerted to the gaffe when a woman from the crowd reportedly yelled, "Put him down I'm his wife!" according to a report by a Vietnamese newspaper.
"The lady shouting happened at a time of such fever pitch that she barely had time to react,'' Grant said. "It transpires the man is not married, so the lady must have been joking in any case."
A closer look at the man — whose name is Nguyen Tan Phat — while he was in her arms, also signaled something might be off.
"While holding him she noticed his teeth looked 'lived-in' and not the bright whites of a child, but she did not think anything of it,'' Grant added. "The man was already celebrating by this point."
Mone, the United Kingdom's Baroness of Mayfair and the founder of British lingerie company Ultimo Brand International, was giving a speech to an audience of 3,000 people on Saturday when the man took the stage to give her a bouquet of flowers.
Phat was initially misidentified in reports as being 46 years old. He clarified his age as 22 with a post of his identification card on his Facebook page because "after this event for sure, I'll be so famous," according to the Facebook translation. He also called Mone his "idol."
Phat wrote that he is not married and has been that size since he was 6 years old, but did not provide the reason for his small stature.
"I think it's safe to say the whole event made a lasting impression on everyone who was there,'' Grant said.
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