Everyone makes the choices they make for a reason.
You work at your job because you either love it or you need to get paid. You commit random acts of kindness because you want to make the world a better place or you hope karma will pay you back.
I write this column for two reasons. One, I have a life mission to prove that kindness really is contagious; and two, I am chasing the ever elusive words to explain how amazing it feels to be kind.
I got to see both of my personal motives play out this week in real life.
You have probably heard about things going viral. If songs, dance crazes and wacky videos of cats playing the piano can inspire people to turn on their computers, why can’t stories of kindness inspire people to look beyond themselves and reach out a helping hand?
I believe they can, and thanks to readers who continue to share these stories, like Laurelee Oenick from Fargo, kindness is spreading.
My mom, Judy, lives in Wisconsin and just loves hearing the ‘Fargo Nice’ stories from your Kindness is Contagious column.
“In our telephone chats I tell her about your column all the time. She agrees with me that Fargo is a very special place to live and raise children.
“She has apparently decided to bring a little bit of ‘Fargo Nice’ closer to her home in Wisconsin.
“She told me how she was in line at the grocery store the other day and the man in front of her did not have enough cash to pay for all of his groceries. He was about $7 over, so he put aside a frozen pizza and a few other small items. My mom told the cashier that she would pay for the pizza and the other items.
“The man said, ‘Oh, are you buying the pizza now?’ She replied, ‘No, I’m buying it for you! It’s called being Fargo Nice. People in Fargo just do nice things for others all the time. Now you can pass it on by doing something Fargo Nice for someone else. Enjoy your pizza!’
“The man thanked her and got into his truck with a surprised expression on his face. My mom is sure he is going to pass it on.”
Laurelee, thank you for helping me accomplish one of my two goals by spreading the message of kindness.
Goal No. 2 played out this week when I got to see what it looks like when someone experiences the high of committing a random act of kindness for the very first time.
My 9-year-old daughter was helping me watch my girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter. When the playdate was over, my daughter asked if we could stop at Target to buy a doll for her young friend. She was just certain this little girl’s night would be made if we could also make a quick delivery.
So, at 7:30 at night, my daughter was at my friend’s front door with the doll in hand. It may have made that little girl’s night, but it made my daughter’s entire week.
She couldn’t stop talking about the look in little Waverly’s eyes when she saw the doll. Or how messed up the doll’s hair was going to be because Waverly would probably have to sleep with it every night. Or how Waverly would probably treasure the doll so much that she would pass it down to future generations. Well, maybe not, but you get my point.
My daughter finally “got it.” She now knows exactly how elating it feels to step out of her comfort zone and love boldly.
Trying to explain that feeling to someone is like trying to explain what the color blue looks like. You’ve just got to experience it for yourself.
So, as you face a week full of choices both important and mundane, I hope you will commit to making a conscious decision to better your own life and the lives of others by choosing to be kind. You’ll be helping me to further my personal missions, and who knows, maybe karma will get you back.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.
Nicole Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo, and currently the Executive Director of Diva Connection Foundation. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.