World’s tallest man is someone to look up to for Westpark Elementary students

Students at Westpark Elementary School received a pretty big surprise this week.

Sultan Kösen, recognized by the Guinness World Records organization as the tallest living man at 8 feet 3 inches, stopped by for a visit with some much shorter second- and fourth-graders to field questions, pose for photos — like the one on the right with Westpark Principal Ann Marie Simmons — and even dunk a basketball.

A resident of Mardin, Turkey, Kösen was in town for the Anatolian Cultures and Food Festival in Costa Mesa. Turns out he’s friends with a Westpark family and was amenable to meeting some of the children’s classmates on Tuesday.

Kösen doesn’t speak English, but he did have an interpreter on hand to help him chat with the Westpark students, who had plenty of questions, including:

“How much do you eat in a day?” (Kösen said he eats about twice as much as a man of average height.)

“Do you like being tall?” (It’s fun to be tall, he said.)

“How do you travel?” (Small vehicles can be difficult, but he said he can generally squeeze into a car and have someone else quickly shut the door.)

A special thanks to Westpark parent Michelle Greenwalt for sharing this story and the photos.