HELLO! November 21st is World Hello Day! World Hello Day has been celebrated annually on this date since 1973, when it was created by Brian and Michael McCormack in response to the Yo Kippur War. The McCormacks encouraged people everywhere to participate by greeting ten people, an act that they feel demonstrates “the importance of personal communication for preserving peace.” Over the past few decades the day has been recongized by governments, celebrities, leaders, and activists across the globe, with people in 180 countries celebrating in the hope that world leaders will follow their examples and use communication rather than force to settle confilcts.
When I was a kid I was painfully shy. I took part in a lot of activities that forced extroversion, like drama and orchestra, but communicating with strangers always put me a little on edge. And when I consider where I grew up, it’s really no surprise: Woodbridge was a great place to raise a family, with wonderful schools and sprawling suburbs — but it was so close to the fast-paced dog-eat-dog capitol city that people often sped past each other without taking a moment to make eye contact, let alone say hello. I lived in that environemnt for so long that when I moved to the small college town of Harrisonburg, VA to attend JMU, I was shocked that strangers in the mall would say hi for no other reason than that we we woalking past each other!?!? And it didn’t stop there: strangers even held the door for each other! At first I was a little freaked out by the new consideration, but eventually I got used to it and the small town attitude was one of the things that made me most proud of Harrisonburg. When I left I tried to carry it’s residents’ pleasant disposition with me.
To celebrate this peaceful day of greeting Chris and I made sure we said hello to at least ten people today. We both work in an office setting with handfuls of coworkers, which makes reahcing that small goal pretty simple — something we both do on a daily basis. But we also made sure to say hello to plenty of strangers today. For me, it was the people in the elevator, the customer service rep at one of our local stores, and the cashier at Chick-fil-A.