That Time a Small Texas Town Replaced ‘Hello’ With ‘Heaven-o’
Here’s a blast from the past that I hadn’t thought about in a long, long time.
Thanks to Redditt, I was reminded of the time that Kingsville tried to replace “hello” with “heaven-o.”
The South Texas town of about 25,000 people is best known for being home to the King Ranch, the largest ranch in the United States. But, in early 1997, the town found itself receiving national attention when Kleberg County commissioners unanimously voted for “heaven-o” to be the official greeting of the town.
Why did they do this? It’s because “hello” contains the word “hell” and all of the negative connotations that go with it.
The owner of the Kingsville Flea Market, 56-year-old Leonso Canales Jr. Came up with the idea in 1988, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Canales originally intended to replace “hello” with “God-o,” but changed the greeting to “heaven-o” at the suggestion of his brother.
He went on to push for the greeting to be made official in the 90s as a way to promote positivity in what he described as an “age of negativity”:
When you go to school and church, they tell you ‘hell’ is negative and ‘heaven’ is positive. I think it’s time that we set a new precedent, to tell our kids that we are positive adults.
While courthouse employees began answering the phones with “heaven-o,” it never really caught on around town. And in case you’re wondering, no, they don’t answer the phones with “heaven-o” anymore.
But hey – it must’ve been fun while it lasted.