Wednesday, August 27, 2014

That's Not My Name

Hello my name is Kalei

It was a beautiful morning, so I loaded my dog Daisy into my car and headed to my favorite hiking trail.  After a serene and peaceful workout, I returned to my car and checked my phone.  

There was an urgent email from a colleague I’ve worked with for many years.  The email began: 

Dear Kaleigh…

[Screeching record halt]

I’m sorry who?  

A tad annoyed, I immediately responded: 

Hi Jake, I’m Hawaiian, not Irish. 


(Confession: I spent at least 10 minutes debating whether I should address him as JHAYKE.  I ultimately decided that yes, I’m remarkably clever, but no, that was a bit snarky). 

He responded, Ok I’ll try to remember that next time.  

Huh? I thought. No big deal, guy, it’s just MY NAME.

A few minutes later, a new voicemail popped up.  I pressed play and was greeted with this: 

Hello, um…Kay-lee?  I’m calling about…


Anxious to shake it off and get my day started, I arrived at my neighborhood Starbucks.  When I made it up to the counter, I took a deep breath. 

Me: Good morning!

Starbucks Guy: Hi Kalei. 

He not only pronounced my name correctly, he spelled it perfectly on my little white cup. (If you’re thinking, wow she must live at Starbucks.  Yes.  Yes she does).

I couldn’t help but smile.  After my I-don’t-care-what-your-name-is morning, someone took the time to know my name.  To know me. 

My name and I are synonymous- it’s my identity, my truth. Hearing it (pronounced correctly, which is an entirely different story), makes my heart sing. 

I love Dale Carnegie’s Success Tip: Remember that a person’s name to that person is the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

I know I have an unusual name that’s difficult to pronounce.  My point is this: I appreciate when an effort is made.  It tells me you care. 

Do you have an unusual name?  Or maybe you’ve been called by the wrong name?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below (especially my fellow Hawaiian peeps). 

What's in a name? that which we call a rose 
By any other name would smell as sweet.
- William Shakespeare

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 
- Isaiah 43:1


  1. I go back and forth with this. I get called Amber, Heather, August. None of which make sense to me. My first boyfriend's mom called me Amber for 7 years. Only a yellow flag - she had malapropisms for everything and called Oreo cookies "oleolis." And since my name is an actual word, I don't get how people can spell it so wrong. However, while in some instances it's appropriate to politely correct someone, I have learned that in many situations the person is made to feel awkward, dumb, and they think you sound like a b-i-t-c-h. And that's what they remember, not necessarily your name. In the Shakespeare quote above, Romeo is telling Juliet that he doesn't care what her name is (Capulet), that he loves her in spite of it. ;-)

  2. I just read this one. So funny. No one gets my name right either. And sometimes my husband calls me "Amy" or "Erika," which are my sister-in-laws and not ex-girlfriends, thank goodness!