Two things that should probably never be in the same sentence are “Kay Wyma” and “Cafeteria Cashier.” It has something to do with my Overtalkers Anonymous recovery program (kids waiting in a line with their food trays just wanting to pay and sit down – they don’t have much interest in chatting) and my technological challenges.

A couple years ago, our Middle School cafeteria went the way of the computer. And after having been a cashier in the cash days (where we had to do the math in our heads – let’s just say I added a good $20 at the end of my shift to help my drawer end well after all my mistakes), I’m happy for the electronic upgrade. But somehow I still manage to get lost and struggle to give a kid the right change and press buttons that result in booting me out of the system.

But no worries, plenty of  real help – as in the amazing gals who staff our cafeteria – backs me up and gets me back on line in a flash.

One of the nicest benefits of the computerized cafeteria system is that each time a student flashes his I.D. in order to pay for his meal from an on-line account, his (or her) picture and name pops up. So with every kid, I get to – by name – cheerfully yell after them, “Have a GREAT day – Molly”, or Zack or Sam or Sally.

It’s Middle School, I know. They don’t like to be called out or have attention, especially from a mom, drawn their way. But I still do it. I want them to hear their name. Said happily, positively. Sure they might cringe on the outside, but at least for a moment they can feel known in the sea of people. And the truth is, I almost always can see a faint little smile as they walk away to find a seat. Some of the kids even stop and shoot me back an, “I hope you have a great day, too.”

People love to hear their name. It warms my own heart when I look up as someone has said, “Hi Mrs. Wyma” and I see a friend of our kids smiling at me.

Dale Carnegie always said, “The sweetest sound in any language is the sound of one’s own name.” Why? It means you’re known. And in today’s world, more than ever, people need to hear their names.

Sitting in that ginormous cafeteria, filled with loud sounds and a sea of people, I loved hearing the workers behind me sporadically calling out names, “Hey Dooley – How’s your day?” And even better, watching sheepish smiles erupt.

Today is World Hello Day. (Yes there is such a thing.)

November 21, 2014 is the 42nd annual World Hello Day.  Anyone can participate in World Hello Day simply by greeting ten people.  This demonstrates the importance of personal communication for preserving peace.

So take the opportunity, use this special day to practice. Say, by name, hello to people next to you. To the grocery clerk, to the Chick-Fil-A cashier, to your mailman, to… Just do it. And make your family do it too. It will make everyone feel a little better.

As if on cue, I got into my this morning to see this.


My daughter’s nametag from an event she attends once a month. Her name, printed – not handwritten upon arrival – on a name tag does more than tell people who she is. It reminds her that she belongs. Doesn’t it do the same for you?

Thanks for walking the road with me.


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