When I first started writing this "Kindness is Contagious" column nine years ago, I misunderstood what “weekly” meant.
The publisher said, “It’s a weekly column.” I heard, “Write it when you have something to write about.”
I asked readers to send in their stories of kindness, but I quickly learned to become an investigator of kindness in my own life so I had something to write about each week. You’d be surprised how many acts of kindness I found when I became intentional about noticing them.
These days, I have the happiest email inbox on the planet. I’d like to share a few stories with you now.
This one is from Kristan Bullinger in Horace, N.D.
“We got some cold, wet snow on a mid-October day which made running our huge garbage and recycling bins to the end of our long driveway and back an unpleasant task. I got all bundled up to bring ours in and saw our elderly neighbors across the street still had theirs out as well. I decided to roll their bins up to their house for them. Heck, I was already cold and wet... they didn't need to be, too!
"Well, today my neighbor called to ask if I had helped them. She mentioned being worried when her husband walks down their slippery driveway and shared how much this meant to them. Then, she made a point to tell us how much joy it brings them to watch our family play outside and how much she admires how we are raising our kids. I often feel like I'm not doing enough and this nearly brought me to tears. I got so much more back than I gave! My son and I are now planning to help them with this small task each week.”
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Here’s a story from Becky Kolander in Jackson, Minn.
“On Oct. 7, I ordered a last-minute cake for my husband and picked it up in Worthington, Minn., on my way home from an appointment. Due to the pandemic, I asked to pay for my cake over the phone but was told I needed to come in. I quickly went in and found a note on my cake that said, ‘I paid for your cake in honor of what would have been my mom’s 83rd birthday. Have a wonderful day.’ It brought me to tears."
Here’s one more from Susan Mjelstad in Fargo.
"I was recently going through things at our house and came across some treasures I no longer needed.
"I decided to sell the items on Facebook Marketplace for $5 each, knowing I had a little surprise for them. When I met up with the buyers, I told them I didn’t want the money and was just happy they could use the item. The response from people was so heartwarming. One gentleman told me he was a veteran and had lost his wife recently.
"I wanted to share this story with you as it is an easy way to spread kindness. It’s fun to see the look on people’s faces when you tell them that you don’t want the money."
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at email@example.com.
Nicole J. Phillips, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Aberdeen, S.D., with her three children and her husband, Saul Phillips, the head men's basketball coach at Northern State University. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.