An Act of Kindness Could Last for Generations

We’ve all been there, in line at the grocery store, when either we came up short or the person in front of us did. Maybe that’s why last week’s column about the woman who paid for the elderly man’s groceries resonated with so many of you.

In the past week, I’ve been delighted to hear your stories. Each act of kindness is precious and unique. I’d like to share two of them with you now.

The first is from Alden Sprecher, who lives in Mapleton, N.D., and works at the Village West Hornbacher’s store.

“Last week around noon, a young lady in her 20s stopped at our deli for some lunch. She only spent about $3.50 or so, but when she swiped her EFT credit card, it was rejected. She tried two or three more times with the same result. She comes in quite often, so I knew her, and of course she was embarrassed. She then told me she would have to skip the order and do something else for lunch.

“Almost immediately, the next lady in line said, ‘Let me pay that for her,’ which she did, and the young lady thanked her for her generosity. When the transaction was finished, I thanked the lady myself. She said sometimes people just need to be shown a little kindness.

“Many times I’ve taken some money from my own pocket to help a customer who is short some coins, but sometimes I don’t think fast enough. I could have swiped one of my own credit cards and helped the young lady, but to my shame, I didn’t. I felt embarrassed myself.

“People in the FM area continue to amaze me with their generosity.”

Thanks for sharing your story, Alden, and just think, if you had quickly pulled out your own money, the other lady in line would not have been given such a special opportunity to save the day with kindness! I bet she walked out of the store feeling renewed and energized by her ability to help another woman in need.

Here’s another grocery store story that really touched my heart. It’s from a woman named Jessica.

“My grandpa, John Julius Novotny, passed away two years ago at the age of 92. He served in the Korean War, raised six children in a small home, and worked as a butcher at a neighborhood grocery store called Churchill’s for more than 50 years. In fact, after he ‘retired,’ they called him back to work, less to actually cut meat and more to just talk to the customers. He was a humble man and prayed on his knees every night until he couldn’t get down on his knees anymore.

“I knew he was a great guy, willing to give the shirt off his back to anyone who needed it, but someone told a story at the funeral that really made me stop in my tracks.

“A man in his late 50s walked up to the podium. He said when he was a kid, he was sent to Churchill’s for some ham, but he had already spent the money, so he was stealing the meat. My grandpa caught him in a corner. The guy was sure he was going to call the police. But instead, my grandpa pulled out his wallet, handed him a $5 bill, and said, ‘If you want the ham, you can’t just take it. Now go pay for it. And if you ever need anything again, come to me.’

“As a butcher with six children, my grandfather didn’t have a lot to give, but yet he still gave a lot. This story and my grandpa’s legacy of kindness have inspired me many times to do the kind thing.”

Thanks for sharing your story, Jessica. How long will our acts of kindness make an impact? I guess we never really know. It could be something people talk about for generations to come.

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 column runs every Saturday. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.

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