Have you seen this video that is making its rounds on social media this Advent season? Get your tissues ready and take a look at how some gifts come in small, unexpected packages.
A simple “Hello” blossomed into something so beautiful and meaningful for these two people and their friends and family. I’m always amazed at how sometimes the simplest gifts in life can make the biggest difference in not only others’ lives, but for ourselves as well.
The story of the young girl and older gentleman brought to mind something I heard several months ago in an interview on a Catholic radio show and the woman speaking discussed simple, meaningful ways to spread joy while you go about your daily life. She explained one way of doing this is by making an effort to notice an employee’s name tag and addressing the person by their first name when you greet them.
This simple gesture has stuck with me, especially as a busy homeschool mom whose schedule doesn’t allow me to venture away from home for long periods of time. But, I thought reading name tags while doing errands is something I can do to evangelize and try to make a difference in the world outside the walls of my domestic church.
When I’ve made a conscious effort to take the time to read a cashier’s name tag and address them with a smile and a simple “Hello” while using their name, I’ve seen what a positive impact my small gesture has made on them and me.
I’ll never forget the young man named “Michael” who was collecting carts at Costco parking lot. When I gave him my cart I glanced quickly at his name tag and looked at him in the eyes and said “Hello Michael, thank you. You are doing a great job. Keep up the hard work!” I saw his smile and his posture immediately stood taller and prouder. His sincere “Thank you” said it all.
Recently, I was at a store checking out and said Hello to “Patty” with a big smile and her eyes lit up as she looked up to meet my eyes. I could sense the unexpected surprise she had to hear her name come out of my mouth, a stranger among many. We then had a lovely brief conversation about the busyness of the Christmas shopping crowds.
I have also been on the receiving end of a personal greeting from a stranger and I still remember the small act of kindness and how it made me feel. I was running in my second half marathon in March 2016 and as I turned the corner of the route, someone from the long line of spectators yelled, “Good job Tracy!” At first I was confused how this encouraging cheerleader knew my name, but then realized it was on my running bib. Ha! But, I remember thinking that someone made an effort to notice my name while I was in the big group of runners and I really did run with more confidence and stronger with that pick-me-up from a stranger.
Just by noticing someone’s name on a tag, it can change their possibly mundane or bad day to a bright spot in their day and put a pep in their step to continue a hard day’s work. I’ve witnessed how these little acts of kindness, so intentional and meaningful, put a smile on workers’ faces and mine by giving and receiving a personal greeting.
And maybe, just maybe, a simple reading of a name tag can be the start of a beautiful relationship that may gradually blossom into a lifelong friendship.