It’s all in a name


Have you noticed that things change when you learn the name of a stranger? The guy at my local coffee shop, well, actually, Rich, is always happy to see me. We have a friendly banter as I wait for my weekend treat and he reads his freshly received love note🧡.

Things also changed when I was giving out some extra event leftover sandwiches to unhoused folks in an area by a local church. One woman smiled and thanked me and I asked her name. “Angela, what’s yours?” And just like that, we became more than strangers. On these hot days of summer, I’ve stopped by when I can. The second time I saw her, I said, “Hi Angela!” And she had a big smile as she said, “You remembered my name!” So, now I sit and chat with her when I come by. She has words of wisdom for me and has an amazing outlook on life.

Our new neighbors were just the couple down the street, until they became Alex and Cori. The chat on our evening walk seems more connected now that we know each other’s names.

Years ago, my cat once brought me a mouse as a gift. Dropped at my feet, the small mouse scurried into a closet. I was a bit worried when I went to bed and checked under my covers. Then I decided to name the mouse, Stuart Little, of course. I saw there was a tiny hole in the back of the closet floor probably to the crawl space. So I hoped that Stuart was able to make his way back to his family waiting outside. My anxiety seemed to calm as I wished Stuart well.

This is a lesson to remind me how to connect with others. When you use someone’s name they become more relatable. So next time you meet a stranger, ask their name.

Leanne Rubenstein
Compassionate Atlanta

P.S. We’re making great progress with our summer campaign! We’ve just hit the $5000 (1/2 way) mark! Thank you to all who have given and if you want to donate, please do so here.

More Articles

Kroger Community Rewards

Did you know that you can help create a more compassionate Atlanta every time you go to the supermarket?

If you have a registered Kroger Plus Card (available for free at the Customer Service desk in every Kroger store) and a Kroger Community Rewards online account, and choose us as your designated non-profit organization, your purchases will begin earning rewards for Compassionate Atlanta within 7 to 10 business days!