Could you get free stuff for your name?


Certain names come with unexpected benefits.

For instance, admission to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston is free to anyone named Isabella. (That is, anyone named Isabella who remembered to apply for her museum card ahead of time.)

Domino’s Pizza gave free food to families with babies named Brooklyn to promote the BRKLYN pizza in early 2008. In 2004, the company did the same thing for families with babies named Dorothy/Dot to promote Domino’s Dots.

Travelodge in Britain, Ireland, and Spain gave free rooms to married couples named Mary and Joseph during the 2007 Christmas season.

Do you know of any other freebies you can (or could at one time) get for having a particular name?

P.S. The museum is holding its annual “Calling All Isabellas!” event on April 21 this year.

8 thoughts on “Could you get free stuff for your name?

  1. Hi Nancy! I’m writing from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Just wanted to clarify that Isabellas coming to the museum get free admission with a valid ID — they don’t need to have the Isabellas membership card.

  2. I once heard of a casino that has a favorable Blackjack rule for anyone named Nancy. At that casino there is a tradition of calling a pair of aces a “nancy”; as a bonus for players with the name Nancy they let them hit, double down, or resplit aces like you would after splitting any other pair. Normally at that casino you only get one card after splitting aces and can’t resplit if you get another ace (this is the usual rule for split Aces, although there are more exceptions to the latter than the former). (If you want to learn more about Blackjack and the terms I’ve used if you’re not familiar with them, you can visit Michael Shackleford’s site [who coincidentally is also the one who gave birth to the idea of SSA maintaining a list of popular baby names]).

    Disclaimer: This is an April Fool’s joke! (I do not know of any real casinos like the fictitious one I mentioned that gives “bonuses” to people with certain names.)

  3. @Brittany – You’re right — thank you for the clarification. Here’s what it says in the Policy Details:

    Isabellas age 18 or over are required to show a valid ID to receive free admission (the Isabellas Free…Forever Museum Card is a promotional card and does not substitute for a valid ID).

    But the card does get you a discount at the gift shop:

    Complete and submit this form to receive your Isabellas Free…Forever! museum card–and with it, unlimited FREE admission to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and a 10% discount on all Museum Shop purchases!

  4. I read an online rumor that women named Victoria can get a 5% discount at Victoria’s Secret, but I don’t know if that’s true.

    At one point in time, some jean brand (Levi’s?) had a promotion where anyone legally named “Jean” could get a pair of free jeans on a given day.

    I once saw an ice cream parlor that had a “Name of the Day” promotion. Every day, they’d write a random first name on a chalk-board sign outside the store. And if you went in when your name was the Name of the Day, you’d get a free single cone.

  5. @Angela – That ice cream parlor promotion is genius. I bet it motivated a lot of people to swing by regularly and buy a lot more ice cream than they would have otherwise.

  6. In August of 1925, in Toledo, there was a “Nora Lee Moonlight” cruise aboard the Steamer Greyhound to coincide with the release of Irving Berlin’s song “Nora Lee” (which was inspired by a book of the same name by Elenore Meherin). The article announcing the cruise stated:

    Every girl named Nora is entitled to a free ticket.

    An article from the next day listed some of the Noras who had responded to the offers. They included a Nora Matzinger, a Nora Fisher (and her daughter, also Nora), a Nora Tucker, and others.

    “Every Nora Invited to Nora Lee Moonlight on Wednesday.” Toledo News-Bee 3 Aug. 1925: 1.
    “Noras to Be on Board.” Toledo News-Bee 4 Aug. 1925: 1.

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