It can happen to anyone. You forget the name of an acquaintance, and upon greeting them, you feel your dignity and reputation hang in the balance. You're a friendly and considerate person, you're just bad with the nitty-gritty details. It feels to late to outright ask, but some people are truly that brave.
When writer Kristen Mulrooney tweeted the tale of her husband's bravery, people chimed in with their hacks for how to find out someone's name when you're too ashamed to ask directly.