US family mercilessly mocked on social media for wearing $500 Segway hover shoes in airport

The Petersens family on Segway shoes in an airport
The family is facing a torrent of backlash on social media after each of the five members were spotted cruising through a US airport on Segway 'hover shoes'. Photo credit: @theflylifeofjamie / TikTok

A family is facing a torrent of backlash on social media after each of the five members were spotted cruising through a US airport on Segway 'hover shoes'.

The family of five and their electric roller skates were filmed by an amused bystander, who later shared the footage to TikTok - prompting viewers to mercilessly mock their choice of transportation. 

The family was later identified as the Petersens, an American bluegrass family band from Branson, Missouri, comprising parents Karen, 63, and Jon, 64, and their four kids: Katie, 32, Ellen, 30, Matt, 27, and Julianne, 21.

Only five of the six relatives were at the airport at the time - it appears Jon was not partaking in the family fun.

The Segway shoes in question have since been identified as pairs of Ninebot by Segway Drift W1 Electric Roller Skates Hovershoes, which retail for US$470 on Amazon. The high-tech shoes, a variation of Segway's popular hoverboard, were designed by the brand and can reach speeds of up to 12km per hour. On a fully charged battery, the accessory runs up to 45 minutes.

The clip, which shows the Petersens gliding in tandem around the airport on their electric skates, has sparked a war of words among viewers - with many brutally ridiculing the family for their footwear. 

"In the airport with $500 Segway shoes," Jamie captioned the initial clip, which showed the family hovering outside Starbucks before casually wheeling away in a loose formation. It has since amassed more than two million views.

"The Petersens! They're a bluegrass family band. They're such a sweet and humble family. Check out their songs, they're wonderful!" one person commented.

But other TikTok users weren't so sweet, with many branding the family as "ridiculous" and "embarrassing", questioning why they could not simply walk through the airport on foot.

Others were quick to accuse younger generations of laziness in a world of rapidly advancing technology.

"So now... are we too lazy to even walk around?" one asked. "Thank goodness I won't be here for future generations."

"Being in your 20s and walking is oh so hard," another sniped, with a third adding: "Because walking is just too hard."

"The ridiculousness of our future generation right there," a fourth wrote.

"I'm so embarrassed for them and I don't know why," read a different comment, while another added: "This is so humiliating."

But the backlash prompted others to rush to the family's defence, with many noting that the Segway shoes would be far more fun than regular sneakers.

"Why are people hating? It's not embarrassing? Looks kinda fun," one acknowledged.

"'Embarrassed for them', what does that even mean," said another. "Let society have fun sometimes, you're literally on TikTok right now."

"I could have used these when I had to run 20 gates because our plane was about to take off," another joked.

One simply commented: "We are living in a dystopia."

In a comment, the woman who filmed and shared the video - named Jamie - clarified that she "wasn't hating" on the Petersens and simply found it funny.

"I thought they were a startup thing but I found them on Amazon for $500 sold by Segway. Wasn't hating, just found it funny. Leave a comment and laugh," she said.

In another comment, Jamie confirmed the Petersens had reached out to her on Instagram.

According to local media, the Petersens first became a band in 2005. They have released a number of albums over the years and embarked on a few worldwide tours. At the International Bluegrass Music Competition in 2018, they placed fourth. 

The second eldest child, Ellen, competed in American Idol in 2015 and made the top 48.

And it appears the family have been long-time fans of Segway, with photos shared in April 2018 showing the Petersens using personal transporters made by the brand.