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.
“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 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 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.