Every morning, a man in his 20s gets on my bus carrying a Diet Coke. I smile to myself as he discreetly takes a sip, pushing the boundaries of acceptable breakfast drinks when he thinks no one is watching. Some days I want to lean over and ask him how the Diet Coke thing started, or maybe just say hi.
And on Feb. 8, I can.
Say Hi Vancouver is hitting our city this Friday, courtesy of Vancouver import Shelley Koorbatoff. Her goal with Say Hi Vancouver is to break down the invisible barrier between strangers and help us connect with the people we see every day.
It’s simple. All you have to do is wear a name tag and say hi.
Carson Loveday, a management master’s student at UBC, got involved with Say Hi Vancouver because he agreed with their goal to see things change in Vancouver. Loveday wants to bring Say Hi Vancouver to campus and create the same sense of community with UBC students as Koorbatoff is pushing in the city.
“Vancouver is a great place to live,” Loveday said, “but it needs a change. It needs this push for community.”
Loveday envisions Say Hi spreading across Canada and becoming an annual event. This goal seems in reach, considering all the positive media attention Say Hi Vancouver has been garnering: it’s been featured on CTV News, Breakfast Television and CBC, to name a few.
If you’re on the fence about reaching out this Friday, Loveday encourages you to connect with fellow soon-to-not-be-strangers on Say Hi Vancouver’s Twitter or Facebook. Still not sure? At least you won’t be alone. “I’ll be wearing a giant nametag!” Loveday promised.
So on Friday, print your Say Hi Vancouver name tag (or better yet, Loveday suggested, get creative and make your own), fill in your name, attach it to your shirt and bravely walk out into the city, ready to say hello. Be courageous and reach out to someone. Then share photos of new friends, embarrassing stories or genuine connections on the Internet.
But what about after Feb. 8? A few friendly hellos and then back to ignoring everyone again? Loveday hopes not. His plan is to use the social media accounts to create a network of familiar people who are making a friendlier Vancouver. This way, everyone stays involved and the spirit of Say Hi Vancouver doesn’t get lost during the 364 days without name tags.
Before we wrapped up our chat, Loveday put me on the spot and asked if I’d be wearing a name tag. I told him I would. After all, what’s the harm in saying hello?