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

Steve Hartman named his daughter Meryl after Meryl Hubbard, whom he met at a peewee 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 father tell stories about kindness and character. Meryl and Emmett are not common names, but for the Hartman family, they are an inspiration.

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

“We were thinking about things that just someone we heard someone shouting Meryl. and we thought, well it was this girl who impressed us. So let’s give him his name,” Hartman said. “She was so lovely and, you know, really brilliant. And I guess, you know, when you name your child, it’s a bit of a wish. Like, I want my kid to grow up like this one day.

This little girl, Meryl Hubbard, is now 20 and currently a junior at UW-Madison and in dance and journalism. She sees herself a lot in the young Meryl.

“She’s spunky and exciting and just a very whimsical girl and she dances too. So it’s pretty special,” the former Meryl said.

Hartman is thrilled that Meryl Hubbard is also pursuing a career as an investigative journalist.

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

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