I wish I could stop eavesdropping. Honestly, I don’t intend to listen in on the conversations around me, but sometimes I feel like it’s unavoidable.
Since eavesdropping falls somewhere along the same lines as gossiping in my book, I find myself either moving away from the people talking or joining in their conversation.
I justify my verbal leap into something that is none of my business with the rationale that what they are talking about could really use a third-party opinion: Mine. Like at the grocery store when I overhear people talking about which cheese is the tastiest on crackers. Or at the coffee shop when I overhear someone ask which dessert is the most pleasing to a chocoholic. Or, like several weeks ago at the gym, when people were trying to figure out who to put in their Sweet 16 bracket. BISON, Baby! Oops. Maybe I should have stayed out of that conversation.
Sometimes it’s better to stay out of the way, and sometimes we need to invite ourselves into someone else’s life. I got a letter from a woman who was in the right place at the right time to jump in and save the day with her act of kindness by eavesdropping.
“I was standing behind two brothers while waiting to renew my driver’s license. One had driven the other from north of Fargo to Valley City to take the test because his new job depended on getting his license after going without one a few years because of a previous debilitating accident.
“One brother had even taken the day off work to drive the other. They came to Valley City because there was a longer wait to get an appointment in Fargo, and the job depended on the license.
“But there was a problem. In order to take the test, everything on your car had to work, and their horn didn’t. They even went downtown to a mechanic. It would honk when they had the hood up, but no way would it honk from the inside. Overhearing their dilemma, I asked the tester, ‘Does it have to be their car?’
“ ‘No, just any car with everything working.’
“So, 20 minutes later, the new license holder came back into the office smiling, ‘Thanks for letting me use your car!’
“It still makes me feel good thinking about it!”
Now that’s one conversation I’m sure those two brothers were thrilled to have had overheard and interrupted!
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 J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is an author, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Bison Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday. You can also get a Daily Dose of Inspiration from Nicole at www.nicolejphillips.com.