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Kindness is Contagious: Kindness lights up the space around us

Nicole Phillips, Kindness is Contagious columnist.

Have you ever seen kindness ripple through a room? It happened just the other day in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The Edith Sanford Breast Center put on an amazing conference for survivors and I got to talk about using kindness during a cancer journey.

When I finished speaking, the emcee took the mic and told the crowd that one of the survivors wanted to buy my "Kindness is Courageous" book for everyone in the audience. All 100 people!

I was stunned and beyond touched that this stranger felt so strongly about my message that she wanted everyone to take a piece of it home. I was riding that high when the very next day, a man walked into a synagogue in Pittsburgh and started shooting.

It’s easy to believe the world is filled with hatred. It assaults our eyes and ears at each turn.

The stories of kindness people send me are a lifeline when we need to remember there is good in this world. Whether it’s buying books for a roomful of people or helping out a harried mom, kindness continues to push back the dark and light up the space around us.

In case you need to be reminded of the goodness, here are two sweet stories:

“While walking into Essentia Health in Fargo for an appointment, I noticed an elderly couple leaving. The gentleman was pushing his wife in a wheelchair and it was raining hard. I did what I could to keep them covered with my big umbrella while the man was getting his wife in their car. Then I helped him fold the wheelchair into the trunk. That simple act made me feel better all day long, and only took about five minutes. Sure, I helped them, but they made me feel a lot better as well.” — Dick Zollar.

“Sometimes we learn how to grow in kindness simply by observing. In a grocery store line one day, a woman was struggling with groceries, little kids, a crying baby and apparently a lost checkbook. People in line were rolling their eyes (including me, I must admit) while this woman struggled. Finally a young man came forward and said to the woman, ‘How about letting me hold the baby while you find your checkbook?’

"So simple, so obvious, and yet none of us thought of it. The baby stopped fussing and played with the man's car keys. The woman found her checkbook. We all got on with our lives.

"I remember this so clearly. When I see mothers struggling, I usually ask if I can help. I'm not great with babies, but I do understand being overwhelmed at times, and a little touch of kindness is all that is needed. These days when I'm shopping, I sort of hope a baby will put up a fuss so I can be the hero of the day. (Kidding!)” — Patt Jackson.

When we look for ways to brighten a seemingly dark world, we all get to be heroes.

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, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Athens, Ohio, with her three children and her husband, Ohio University Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.

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