What’s in a name? Chance encounter proves inspiring for CBS News reporter

Steve Hartman named his daughter Meryl after Meryl Hubbard, who he met at a pee-wee shuffleboard event in Ohio more than a decade ago. Hubbard is now a journalism student at UW-Madison.

MADISON, Wis. — You may have seen Steve Hartman’s Kindness 101 series on CBS Mornings; his children Meryl and Emmett help their dad tell stories about kindness and character. Meryl and Emmett are not common names, but for the Hartman family, they’re inspirational.

The inspiration for Meryl’s name goes back to the summer of 2011. Steve was reporting at a resort in Lake Side, Ohio on the resort’s pee-wee shuffleboard league. There, he met a young shuffleboard player named Meryl. Meryl Hubbard.

“We were thinking about things that just somebody we heard somebody yell out Meryl. and we thought, well that’s that girl that impressed us. So let’s name her after her,” Hartman said. “She was just so charming and, you know, really bright. And I guess, you know, when you name your child, it’s a little bit of a wish. Like, I want my child to grow up like this someday.”

That little girl, Meryl Hubbard is 20 years old now and is currently a junior at UW-Madison and a dance and journalism major. She sees a lot of herself in the younger Meryl.

“She is spunky and exciting and just a very whimsical girl and she also dances. So that’s pretty special,” the older Meryl said.

Hartman is thrilled that Meryl Hubbard is now pursuing a career as an investigative reporter, too.

“And what I never saw coming was that maybe one day she might become a journalist. It’s just she gave us the great gift of her inspiration and her name. And now hopefully, you know, we can help launch her on a journalism career,” Hartman said. “But it’s blossomed into something that I certainly never could have imagined when we made that decision all those years ago.”

As for the inspiration for son’s Emmett’s name, Hartman joked, “Maybe some other day we could do a story about my son Emmett and how we named him after a urologist in Toledo.”