Sometimes Kindness Backfires

A friend recently asked if kindness ever comes back to bite me. She was struggling with the decision to continue extending kindness to people who just weren’t playing along. She felt as if all of her efforts were being done in vain and wondered if it was worth it.

My answer was, “Yes, I’ve been bitten.”

There are times when people are not interested in receiving the love I’m trying to give, but that’s OK. I’m not worried about how people treat me or even perceive my actions. I’m concerned with how I’m choosing to treat people.

Sometimes kindness backfires. But as a family in Moorhead discovered, when it hits its mark, it is so worth the risk.

“Hi Nicole,

“I love reading your column and appreciate the hope it brings to our community. In that light, I want to share a ‘Kindness is Contagious’ moment that recently happened to our family:

“One April day after school, I biked with my young kids to the end of our road to clean up litter. We spent about 45 minutes picking up trash in the green space near the road. It was hard, muddy work, but the kids were huge helpers. We left bags of recycling and trash near the curb (with plans to pick it up later by car) and started biking home.

“Suddenly, I heard a man call out behind me. I slowed down, and a young man on a bike who was probably in his 20s caught up to me. He asked if we had just picked up the garbage from the ground. I said ‘Yes,’ and he asked to speak to the kids. They turned around on their bikes to visit with him.

“Before I knew what was happening, this young man handed me a $50 bill. He thanked my kids for doing such good work and told them to split the money. I tried to turn it down, but he insisted and biked off with a huge smile.

“We stood there for several minutes so surprised and touched. My kids asked why he gave them the money. I told them that sometimes doing a kind act can make someone else so happy that they want to help out, too. Kindness IS contagious.

“We still don’t know who that young man was. If you are reading this story, please know how much your kind gesture was appreciated. You brought huge smiles to the faces of two little kids. Thank you.”

My guess is the interaction lasted no longer than two minutes, but those kids will remember that act of kindness for the rest of their lives. Sometimes when you stop to talk to a stranger, it ends up feeling awkward and uncomfortable, but sometimes it ends up creating a lasting lesson in love.

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at info@nicolejphillips.com. 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 Ohio University 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.

A Public Service Announcement for Giving

In the past three years, kindness has become my ministry. It is my passion, and in my opinion, it’s the answer to every problem out there. Be kind.

I’ve recently met a woman who shares my passion for kindness, but instead of “Be kind,” her platform is “Give.” She is so passionate about giving that she wrote her own Public Service Announcement and paid to have it published in papers in Western North Dakota. She calls it her PSA for the Greater Good.

“Nicole, as a social entrepreneur and arts/social issues advocate, I can’t help but think about all the new, unchartered money pouring into western North Dakota. Some people literally don’t know what to do with their money. This is what compelled me to write the attached letter that I placed as a display ad in both the Minot and Williston Daily News.”

Here’s the letter she wrote. I hope it inspires you as well as the people out west who are very quickly learning about the responsibility that comes with riches.

“Marcy was an active teen engaged in student council, volleyball and youth ministry at church. So when she was diagnosed with a degenerative disease, her life unraveled. Her prognosis was uncertain, her mother quit her job to care for Marcy, and bills piled up. While no amount of money could restore what had been lost, a local gift program was able to restore peace of mind and hope with collective donations.

“Jason didn’t know where he fit in … middle school bullying was a nightmare … he loved performing, so he took a leap and auditioned for a summer theater program. Here he found a safe place to explore his gifts and a community that embraced him. Instead of taking his life that summer, Jason chose to live, and by example, likely saved the lives of others.

“These are examples of how lives are saved, empowered and supported when someone makes the decision to give. What makes this exchange more profound, however, is the unexpected effect it has on the giver’s life.

“I speak from experience. Giving brings joy and purpose to my life. I have devoted the last decade to creating awareness around people/projects/organizations that illuminate the human condition. It’s the thread that runs through who I am and how I spend most of my time. It usually shows up for me in arts and social issues advocacy, supporting kids’ passions and teaching mindfulness practices.

“I feel a deep responsibility to give. I am inspired by the philosophy, ‘To those much is given, much is expected.’ However, even though one person can make a difference, this ad is intended to have a leveraging effect.

“Many of you have had the great fortune of benefitting from North Dakota’s oil resources. If you find yourself in an unexpected position of surplus funds, my plea to you is to consider ‘giving’ as an investment with Joy and Purpose as your ‘return on investment.’ Your money can live on in the lives of people like the ones depicted in these stories.

“Finally, I know you’re asking, ‘Why would someone take out a personal ad with the intent of harnessing surplus dollars just to advocate for giving?’ Albeit unconventional, it is pure in nature and it’s what I do … remember? (See above).

“If nothing else, think of it as a PSA for the greater good. If this inspired you to give, drop me a line. I’d really love to hear about it. If you are unsure where to start, email me at ginasandgren@cableone.net. I know of plenty of noble causes who need a champion.

My best,

Gina Sandgren”

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at info@nicolejphillips.com. 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 Ohio University 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.

Moms First Teachers of Kindness

I’ve mentioned in previous columns that I haven’t always had the closest relationship with my mom.

It has taken years (decades actually) for my heart to soften toward my mother.

Even during those times when I knew I should forgive her but couldn’t and wouldn’t, there was always the nagging thought in the back of my mind saying, “She won’t be around forever, Nicole. You’re going to lose the opportunity to make amends.”

I am so grateful for the relationship I have today with my mom. Moms are special people. They are often the ones who first teach us about kindness.

I get letters all the time from grown children who mention the importance of their mother in their lives. I’d like to share a few of those letters today.

“On the morning of Feb. 27, my life changed forever. I found out my mom had passed away at the young age of 63. She was my only parent and my best friend, as I’m an only child.

“My husband and I live an hour away and just needed to go someplace where we could sit and call family and friends. We decided to go to The Shack in north Fargo because it was very near to her house. We asked to sit in the back corner so we could try and not disturb anyone with our tears and sadness.

“The first hour, we were on the phone and doing a lot of crying. The waitresses were very kind and kept filling our coffee cups and brought us a box of tissues. We then decided we should eat something and had breakfast.

“When we were ready to leave, the waitress said our bill was taken care of, which made both of us start to cry again.

“We don’t know who paid for our meal that morning but it meant everything to us. It was a very hard morning and to have someone make a kind gesture during that moment made us smile. I want to thank whoever it was and will definitely pay it forward in the future.”

– Alicia

And from another reader:

“In late January, on a 30-below-zero day, I received a call informing me that my 96-year-old Mom had fallen and was taken to the Sanford emergency room by ambulance.

“I went to my garage to drive there, and my car wouldn’t start. I called several service stations and friends looking for jumper cables, and in mid-afternoon, reached Travis at a service station nearby.

“When I first asked about jumper cables, he told me the station didn’t have them. When I went on to tell him about my urgency, he asked me for my address and said he’d stop by on his way home with his personal jumper cables.

“He had to push my car out of the garage. When he attempted to jump the battery, he didn’t succeed and had to push my car back into the garage! He then drove me to Sanford. What a caring young man!

“That was just the start of many kindnesses over the next five days.

“I stayed with my mom that night, and the following afternoon she had surgery to repair her fractured hip. My very caring friends sat with me during Mom’s surgery and transported me back and forth from the hospital.

“When my cellphone broke the next day, my friend, Cynthia, drove me to the phone store. Having heard of my car troubles, my childhood friend, David, later showed up at the hospital with his grandson, took my automatic garage door opener and car keys and called later to say that my car was back in working order.

“After what had seemed like one minor disaster after another, a stranger, friends and family all showed me acts of kindness and helped me stay strong for my Mom before, during and after her surgery. She is now recovering nicely and walking with the aid of a walker.” – Judith

And from another reader, Lucy:

“Nicole, I must share this story of kindness that means so much to our family.

“My mom, in her mid-90s, resides in a Fargo assisted living facility.

“Years ago, she became acquainted with her tablemate’s son, Gary. They discovered a shared love of crossword puzzles. Almost daily, Gary stopped by Mom’s room to see how she was doing on The Forum Sunday crossword. With a smile and some teasing, he also filled in the answers he was sure she would not know, such as computer lingo and rap singers.

“Gary’s mother eventually moved to another facility and has passed away. Still, Gary continues to stop by Mom’s every Monday with an enlarged copy of The Forum’s Sunday crossword.

“Thank you, Gary, for this very kind and thoughtful gesture. We appreciate it so much.”

– Lucy

To all Moms out there, including my own, thank you for being the original teachers of the belief that kindness is contagious. Happy Mother’s Day!

 


 

Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s 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.

Creative Kindness to Celebrate a Birthday

My birthday is coming up this week. On Wednesday, I’ll be 26. Again.

Birthdays are fun, but they don’t hold the same excitement for me that they did when I was a child. I remember wanting to invite as many kids as possible over to my house on my birthday in hopes of having a huge stash of presents to open.

Now, I’m a practical and occasionally guilt-ridden mom, so when I receive a gift, I immediately feel badly for all of the work the gift-giver had to go through to bring me said gift. Besides, at a certain point in life, the only things you truly want are a hand to hold and healthy children.

I often hear about thoughtful and creative ways people choose to celebrate their birthdays or the birthdays of loved ones. I got a letter recently from Phyllis, a proud mother, who told me how her son celebrated turning the Big 4-0.

 

“Dear Nicole,

“Our son, Paul, decided to do something special when he turned 40. He selected 40 people who have made a significant impact on his life and wrote them a letter. These are people who he feels lucky and blessed to have known: friends, family members, colleagues and mentors.

“Enclosed in each of the 40 letters was $11. Eleven is his favorite number, along with the number 4, which are the uniform numbers of his favorite baseball players growing up, Chuck Knoblauch and Lenny Dykstra.

“Here is part what he said:

“ ‘First of all, I really do just want to say thanks! My life has been shaped, blessed, and full of some good belly laughs and memories because of these relationships. With the enclosed $11, please make an impact with it.

“Have a coffee date with a spouse or a friend you haven’t truly connected with in a while; donate it to someone who needs it; buy flowers for someone; go to a baseball game. I don’t care what you do with it, just make a good story out of it!

“Finally, I’m asking that over the course of the next 90 to 120 days, you do something creative with it and report back to me via phone, text or in person.’

“Nicole, I was surprised by his letter and felt it was one of those stories of kindness that you’d like to hear about.”

Thanks Phyllis for sharing Paul’s story. I’m sure Paul will get to spend the better part of the year hearing about all of the ways his friends thought of to spread the love with $11, and that’s a great gift in itself! I’ll have to remember that idea when I turn 40. In another 20 years.

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at info@nicolejphillips.com. 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 a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s 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.

Paying it Forward with $1000

I recently received an email from a woman who wanted to give me $1,000. No joke. She had $1,000 to give away, and she wanted to give it to me!

Every year, Bell State Bank & Trust gives their employees money to give away in a random act of kindness. This year, the business added a twist and another layer to the fun. The bank employees got to choose a community member to receive the money, who would then, in turn, get to choose the person or organization who gets it for keeps.

I started to cry when Beverly Boss sent me the message. I have never met Beverly before, and I was so touched that, just by reading this column, she felt like she knew me well enough to trust me with this honor.

I gave my money to a woman in West Fargo whose husband is struggling with a rare, progressive and untreatable disease. This woman has quit her job to care for her husband. I wanted the couple to know that this community cares.

Being able to walk in their home and hand them a check for $1,000 was an experience I will never forget.

But I’m not the only one who got to partake in this experience. Melissa and Trinity Schaff were surprised and delighted when their friend asked them to participate, too!

“Karla Winandy of Bell State Bank asked my husband and me if we would like to give away $1,000 of Bell State Bank’s Pay It Forward money.

“Karla remembered the Mother’s Day story The Forum ran last year about my husband and our daughter handing out flowers to moms who were unluckily/luckily grocery shopping on Mother’s Day. She thought we ‘would be the perfect recipients’ and that we’d do something truly heartfelt.’

“I was overjoyed to be given this honor. And of course, I really wanted to find a good cause for this money. I didn’t want it to go to a well-known or large nonprofit or charity. I wanted something smaller, something local, something within our community.

“My first selection came easily and was somewhat of a no-brainer. I chose the NOW Project, a charity that has a chapter in Fargo. My friend, Mariah Prussia, told me The NOW Project is a worldwide nonprofit organization designed to empower, protect and restore the health and well-being of women and children.

“This organization teaches women and children how to fight an attacker by teaching them warning signals (verbal and non-verbal), how to engage in combat that may save their lives and how to deal with verbal and emotional abuse.

“Mariah is working with the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, North Dakota State University and local schools to expand the reach of this curriculum.

“I am a survivor of emotional/verbal abuse and a large part of my work as an intuitive and Reiki master practitioner is to empower others, so you can see why this one was an easy choice for me.

“The second recipient is a mom and grandmother who, over the span of several months, took good, watchful care of our newborn daughter. She allowed this new momma to feel confident we made the right decision to entrust our precious cargo to a local day care. Even after our daughter had transitioned to another room, DeeAnn would check in on her and visit with us.

“At Christmastime, DeeAnn’s husband was in a car accident in which he sustained a debilitating brain injury. Surgeons removed a portion of his brain that deals with memory, and because of this he needs 24-hour care. DeeAnn took a leave of absence from her beloved newborns and became a full-time caretaker for her husband.

“I can only guess the emotional and financial strain this has placed on her and her family. Because of the kindness she showed to this exhausted first-time momma and the devotion she shows to her ‘babies’ and her family, we chose DeeAnn as our second recipient.

“A huge ‘thank you’ to Bell State Bank for offering this program, to The Forum for running the story about the Mother’s Day flowers, to Karla for remembering the story and thinking of us, to Mariah for overcoming her own emotional obstacles to bring The Now Project to Fargo, and to DeeAnn for being DeeAnn.”

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at info@nicolejphillips.com. 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 a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s 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.

Learn Kindness from Jesus- Regardless of Religion

This is the hardest week of the year to write my column. An entire Holy Week culminates with the celebration of Easter.

It should be a piece of cake: Say something about the gift of salvation or tell a sweet story about how someone delivered chocolate bunnies to sick kids, right?

I either go Christian or non-Christian. Make a choice and start writing. While I need to stay true to my own values, I think it’s also important to recognize the broad spectrum of beliefs and meet people where they are.

So this year instead of secular or non-secular, I want to try a third option. Let’s call it “philosophical.”

It is my understanding that most historians agree that Jesus existed and that he may have been the originator of large-scale random acts of kindness.

Jesus was compassionate. He was focused but always took time out of teaching to both heal and feed the people around him. He was honest. He stood up for what he believed and yet was completely submissive to his own heavenly father. He also appeared to be quite patient as his popularity grew and crowds of people pressed in on him relentlessly.

When asked what is the most important thing for people to do to live a good life, he simply said, “Love God and love each other.”

If you are in a place on your faith walk where you’re not able to commit to the “love God” part, then let me encourage you to start with the “love each other” part.

Make a decision before you even put your feet on the ground in the morning to love others. Put Post-It notes on your bathroom mirror to greet others with joy. Be patient with people when they annoy you. Remind yourself that others are hurting just like you, and we could all use a little more gentleness in our lives.

When someone cuts you down, be grateful for the opportunity to work on your humility. Be faithful to your partner and to your promises. Acknowledge that while you have no control over how people treat you, you do have total control over your actions, the decisions you make and the way you treat others, so make self-control a priority.

If we use Easter as a reminder, regardless of our beliefs, to be good, kind, loving people, then Jesus’ mission will be accomplished and this world will be a whole lot nicer place to be for everyone.

Whether tomorrow is about a savior, chocolate bunnies or just another morning to get out of bed, I hope you’ll use the day to remember the kindness one man lived long before taking his last breath on the cross.

 


Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at info@nicolejphillips.com. 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 a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. You can also get a Daily Dose of Inspiration from Nicole at www.nicolejphillips.com.

Community of Kindness Eases Goodbye

Editor’s note: Nicole Phillips will continue to write her column after she moves in May to Ohio with her family.

My family is about to go through a period of major upheaval.

My husband, as many of you know, is a basketball coach and most recently got to run all over the court in pure unbridled joy after the North Dakota State University’s men’s basketball team beat Oklahoma in the NCAA tournament.

Things quieted down for a while – until I got a call last Friday afternoon from my husband saying he would be going to an interview that evening. Just before bed the next night, Saul and I decided it was time to give something new a try.

That was one week ago.

The next day I put our house on the market and then hopped on a plane to spend five days on the campus of Ohio University trying to figure out if Bobcats bite. It turns out, people in Athens are pretty nice, too.

During my 13 years as a coach’s wife, I’ve seen what happens when people break allegiances and head for new schools. People at the old school get mad. And mean.

So when this all went down, I became incredibly scared to answer my phone, open my email or venture into the world of Facebook. I wasn’t sure my heart could handle people telling me they thought we were making selfish, money-hungry decisions.

What happened last Sunday morning when the news broke still brings tears to my eyes.

I got a text message from the president of NDSU asking me what he could do to help me make the move less stressful. The president of the school! Where does that happen? Fargo.

I had a girlfriend ask how she could help. When I jokingly said, “Sell my house for me,” she did. In five hours. Where does that happen? Fargo.

Another friend came over and literally took clothes out of my closet and put them in my suitcase because I was too overwhelmed to pack for the weeklong trip. Where does that happen? Fargo.

I had more people than I can count taking the time to say they would be praying for my family’s smooth transition. Where does that happen? Fargo.

You guys, this community is amazing. Amazing. There is nothing Saul or I have ever done to deserve the kindness shown to us over the past week or over the past 10 years.

You have reached out and touched my heart in such a profound way that I don’t even have words to express my gratitude. I just had to use the space in this kindness column to say, “Thank you.” You will never know just how much your kindness has meant to me.

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at info@nicolejphillips.com. 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 a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s 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.

Eavesdropping Saves the Day

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 info@nicolejphillips.com. 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.

Is Kindness Your First Reaction?

A few years ago, my friend John was driving his brand new minivan when someone barreled into him.

John’s first reaction was anger, but before he even let go of the steering wheel, something else took over: compassion.

Somehow, John knew the man in the truck who had just hit him was hurting. Emotionally hurting.

Instead of getting out of that shiny, now-dented, minivan, stomping over to the other driver and screaming, “What were you thinking?” John simply got out of his truck, walked over to the man and said, “Are you OK? What’s going on with you?”

The man replied, “I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t even be driving. I buried my wife yesterday.”

John took the man aside. “This accident is nothing compared to what you are going through. Can I pray for you?”

The two men had a long, meaningful conversation, and both left with more peace than before the accident.

Now, when John gets into his minivan, he remembers the day when anger and accusations were erased by kindness and understanding.

Tracie Overmoe of Moorhead sent me the following letter, explaining how kindness showed up at the scene of her accident, too.

“Nicole, I was waiting to merge into traffic and was suddenly rear-ended. The driver of the other vehicle immediately apologized and admitted it was his fault. I was not hurt but very sore and shook up.

“The driver gave my husband his card and told him to get me a rental car and charge it to him instead of waiting for the insurance. I thought that was odd and wondered if he would really cover the cost. He did.

“God has a funny way of providing for us at times. We had been having some engine problems with our old car, and things were very tight financially. We were limping by hoping our vehicle would hold out until we could get a new one. Since the car was totaled in the accident, we were able to use the insurance money to get a different one.

“A few weeks after the accident, I got a letter in the mail from the other driver. It was a very kind letter of apology and included a generous gift card to a very nice restaurant in downtown Fargo and two movie tickets with popcorn. I had opened the letter in my driveway that morning and was in tears as I read his words and saw his generous gift.

“This was so unexpected and so out of character for how most people would act in a similar situation. I still get choked up when I think about this man’s selfless generosity.

“I hope someday I can pay this forward to someone, not in a car accident, but just by doing something so unexpected, so kind, that comes at a perfect time in someone’s life to provide the same kind of humble joy we have experienced.”

Thank you, John and Tracie, for allowing me to share your stories. Every once in a while, we need to make a snap decision. Will we give in to the emotions that so desperately want to come spewing from our bodies, or will we stop, take a breath and choose to walk in kindness?

 


 

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at info@nicolejphillips.com. 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.

Kindness Feeds the Soul

No matter who picks up the tab, giver and receiver feel kindness.

Do you ever think to yourself, “I’m always nice to people, but I really don’t have the time, energy, money or (fill-in-the-blank) to go around doing random acts of kindness?”

I used to think that way. I used to think the inconvenience of doing an act of kindness just wouldn’t be worth the reward.

Well, I was wrong. The opportunity to be kind is everywhere. You just have to slow down enough to see it, hear it and seize it. And the reward is definitely worth the effort.

A very kind-hearted columnist, Kathy Tofflemire, from The Forum, sent me this first letter:

“Tonight, when I left to go on my supper break, I stopped at the post office and then went to Mom’s Diner to grab a bite since it was close by.

“Just as I was finishing my meal, an older gentleman came in. He was obviously a regular; the manager greeted him and asked how he was. The man said, ‘I have a secret, if you promise not to tell anyone. It’s my birthday.’

“I got up and put on my coat, then said to him: ‘He didn’t tell anyone, but Happy Birthday.’ He seemed genuinely pleased, put out his hand and asked me my name. I said ‘Kathy.’ He said he hoped to see me there again.

“I was driving back to The Forum and thought about how sad it was that the man was eating alone on his birthday. When I got back to the office, I called the restaurant and told the manager I wanted to buy the gentleman his dinner. We made the necessary arrangements and it gave me such a good feeling.”

If that’s not heart-warming enough, I also got this letter from a woman named Dori, who told me what happened when her dinner date got a third wheel.

“On Valentine’s evening my husband and I were at Cow Gals restaurant in Great Bend, N.D., having dinner.

“In came a younger man and asked if he could sit at our table. It was a table for eight, and it was only the two of us, so we said, ‘Of course.’

“He remarked that today was our lucky day and we agreed. We are 69 and 70, and we have been married a year and a half. We feel blessed to have each other.

“Thinking no more about it we went on with our dinner. He got up to leave before us. Then the man returned and said, ‘Remember when I told you it was your lucky day? I paid for your dinner. Have a great evening!’

“We did not get his name, but his kindness will be remembered for a long time, and we continue to share this story with friends and family.

“I will never go by Cow Gals again without remembering that special night. We hope he will see this article and know we are grateful and will pay it forward.”

It is so much fun to have someone surprise you by picking up the tab, but I promise you, the feeling you get from being the one who recognized and seized the chance to be kind is an even better feeling by far.

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at info@nicolejphillips.com. 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.