names are so important. people’s names I mean. we often hear the saying we live out the meaning of our names. when you know someone’s name, instantly, familiarity goes up a notch. calling a new friend’s name closes up the distance. it endears. it makes someone feel special. it can make someone’s day.


one random day in a long time back, it occurred to me that many people have poor eye contact, or actually almost non-existent. I started observing more keenly (I love social experiments!) and concluded that people these days look at things more than looking at people. IT gadgets, the bags of groceries they just bought, the cash in the wallet, the cash machines, the floor, menus, etc. myself guilty-charged as well. So I decided that I shall start the ripple of change. perhaps. hopefully.

I decided to look at the staff taking my orders in the eyes while ordering my food. if he/she has a nametag on, i’ll address by name. I’ll make eye contact with cashiers, say hi & call them by name. I’ll look them in the eyes & thank them, by name too.

the effect has been amazing. and the even cooler thing about it is, the effect spills over to myself & more people. I feel happy that someone is happy. It makes my day when I made someone’s day. and other people are happy cos this person became happier.

last week, this cashier was looking pretty tired, very grumpy and her gaze was down all the time (it was close to midnight, yes i’m a late night grocery-shopper) and had zero interaction with the customer she was attending to. when it was my turn, I said hi & addressed her by name, she looked up in a surprise, smiled & hi back. just like that, in an instant, her countenance brightened, her spirit uplifted. she was smiling & happily packed my groceries carefully in my shopping bag and said bye with a huge smile still. I walked off, turned back and there she was, smiling & saying hi to the next customer.

a simple gesture, but such a huge impact.