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  • Eileen McDargh

A Name Tag for Kindness


A Name Tag for Kindness

The world is slowly opening. Hopefully, our first trip will be to drive in mid-June to Corbett, Oregon. We haven't seen our daughter, her husband and our GRANDdaughters in 17 months.

I remember traveling for our 30th wedding anniversary. We stopped in Portland for a brief touchdown and then off to Juneau and Glacier Bay. We would pick up a 24-passenger boat. A naturalist. One week. Kayaking. Hiking. AND... NO computer or email . YAHHOOO!

If you travel at all, you know that flying – even before Covid-19 – has its own built-in stresses that can set the tone for any trip. Thankfully, we were on Alaska Airlines with Beth. How well I remember Beth.

Beth greeted every passenger with a smile and helped folks get their luggage stored. (On today’s flights – this is NOT an easy task). She paused to talk and beamed when I told her the reason for the flight AND that we’d have a special, short visit with our GRANDdaughters.

We told her we always brought them the little snack mix packet they handed out aboard. In a heartbeat she was back, dumping 10 little snack packs in my lap.

“Here, she said.” “Take these to the children.”

It was then that I looked closer at her official name tag, BETH. But what caught my eye was the wording underneath her name. Same official bronze tag. Only this one said: “committed to kindness.”

I raised my eyebrow and pointed to the words. “My manager watched me work and figured that this was what I was all about so she made me this name tag.” Beth smiled. “It so touched me. I realize I cannot have a bad day when I look down and see the tag. Just can’t be wearing it unless I practice it. So—I buck up and forge ahead into whatever kind of day we are having.”


What a concept!

I find myself remembering that conversation and the name tag. When Beth’s manager called out this virtue to her, she created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Made me wonder if all of us were given little name tags that said, “committed to kindness”, would we change?

If even a small percentage of us acted on that notion, our work, our families, and our community might be different. This memory has prompted me to get a face mask with the words KINDNESS on it. Maybe I can craft my own self-fulfilling prophecy. What about you?

As we begin to slowly come back to our organizations, imagine what would happen if we named the virtue we see in our colleagues? Managers, what might you do to craft a self-fulfilling prophecy that helps staff feel treasured and unique?

Surely something to consider.

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