12/08/2011 07:01 pm ET Updated Feb 07, 2012

Taking Names, Get Past Big City Disconnect

Do you know your doorman's name? Do you know all of them?

Do you know the names of your security guards and staff at work?
Do you know your dry cleaner's name?
Do you know your cleaning lady's last name? Does she have a family?
Do you know the names of the men and women at your local deli?
Do you know the names of the men and women where you buy your papers or magazines?
Do you know the names of the men and women that serve you at your local restaurants?
If you know their names, do you use them? Do you look them in the eye when you enter their establishment or place of business and do you ever ask how they're doing? Do you listen?

If you answered NO to any of these questions it's time to consider making a change.

There is great value to being present in your life and in the lives of others. In a big city, where life moves so fast, we're so obsessed with success, speed, style and other selfish pursuits we forget that love, even daily love between individual strangers, conquers all.

Don't believe me? I've been in the news business for nearly two decades. I've covered 9/11, New Year's Eve in Times Square, TWA Flight 800 and the Wall Street crash. I often say to myself, what a strange business I'm in. I tell stories about strangers to viewers and readers, who will never meet the subjects of these stories. Yet, they laugh, they cry and often chat about my stories at the water cooler and at the dinner table for hours.

In New York and around the world, the truth is we are simple animals with complicated lives. At the end of the day, we are emotional beings welling over with the desire to connect to each other. 
Next time you walk into your building or your office, greet your greeter by their name and see the difference it makes for you. I can promise you, you will begin to feel a deeper sense of self. You will begin to feel love in your heart not just when you see a good friend, a family member or your romantic interest but literally as you walk down the street.  In calling someone by THEIR NAME, making eye contact and sometimes asking how they're doing this holiday season you may just reclaim your humanity.