Hero of the Month

May 2010: Colleen Smith

So I don’t even know Colleen, but I admire her chutzpah. Colleen Smith is a professional volleyball player who lives in Southern California and is 6 feet, 6 inches tall. She has a blog that is mostly devoted to raising awareness about everyday products that don’t work for very tall people, like kitchen counters and legroom in cars.

But she is also making a difference in the world by being friendly. Going beyond a simple “hi”, Colleen gives high fives to strangers and gets big smiles in return. Check out her video. As she wrote a few months ago, “Through small steps, we can begin to understand other cultures, different upbringings, and the beauty of diversity that shapes the world. We can embrace other people rather than ignoring them.”

Colleen’s friend, Steve Crandall, tipped me off about Colleen’s “High Fives for Happiness” efforts. He wrote to me about how Colleen uses her height to her advantage. People stare at her because of her height, so why not turn that attention into something positive by engaging them in a high five? Colleen reports that the first time she tried it, it left her feeling fantastic for the rest of the day!

If you want to try giving high fives yourself, she recommends looking at the opposite high fiver’s elbow for best results. You also might want to check out her post about National High Five Day , which was April 15th. Kudos to Colleen Smith, my “Just Say Hi” Hero for the month of May.

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3 Comments on “Hero of the Month”

  1. steve Says:

    Colleen encouraged me to give some high fives and, given the right circumstances it works very well, but I certainly have to work my nerve up for it. I am very comfortable with waves and smiling hellos – whatever method works is the one you should use.

    A note on Colleen’s post. The science writer who originally motivated her to do something good for strangers saw her post and wrote a great comment – towards the bottom.


  2. I am so honored to be Wendy’s hero of the month! By just saying hi, giving out high fives and having personal interactions with complete strangers, we all benefit in making the world a more understanding and compassionate place to live. Kudos to all who partake in these practices!

  3. bill paine Says:

    Love this ! And the high Fives. Kids always love doing it.. well, until hey turn 11 or so. And thank you for making me a Just Say Hi hero in April. I was just thinking: Is there a National Just Say Hi day ?

    Love the blog, and the idea.

    I want to talk about it on my Jazz show next Monday (The Jazz Volcano) http://www.wmbr.org. And my shows are always archived… so anyone can listen anytime. Ok, nuff with the plug!

    bill p


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