More often than not, when we do random acts of kindness, we never hear about it again. We don’t ever truly know the impact it made on the other person. We just have to trust that kindness worked whatever magic in that person’s life that was needed at that exact moment.
But every once in a while, an act of kindness will lead to a new friendship, and we get to enter the experience from another perspective.
Lori Walker, of Worthington, MN sent me two letters. One is from her daughter’s point of view and the other is from one of her daughter’s new friends.
“My daughter, Jenny, is an Airman First Class in the United States Air Force. She is presently stationed at Travis Air Force base in Fairfield, California. She was home for two weeks this summer while doing some recruiting for the Air Force. Jenny was at the Empire Mall in Sioux Falls, S.D. doing a recruiting exercise.
While there, she decided to take a break and have some lunch, but then realized that she did not have any money with her. She had gotten a ride to the mall with a fellow airman and had left her money in her vehicle. She sat down at one of the tables in the food court.
A short time later, a couple of girls from Iowa, Jessica and Ashley, came up to Jenny and thanked her for her service and offered to buy her lunch!
Jenny was so touched by that act of kindness that she became a little emotional. She told them about not having any money with her and here they were thanking her for her service and wanting to buy her something to eat!
Jenny accepted, and they had a wonderful meal together and good conversation. They told Jenny that they were on their annual shopping trip to Sioux Falls. They asked Jenny questions about being in the Air Force.
Before they went their separate ways, they took a picture together and the girls asked Jenny if they could be friends on Facebook. Later that day, Jessica made a post on Facebook about their get together. I was so touched by this small act of kindness to my daughter that I felt compelled to share it with you.”
Here’s what Jessica posted about the interaction:
“As Ashley and I were doing our usual Sioux Falls shopping at the mall, we had a lovely experience. We had just sat down with our meals in the food court. Ten minutes into eating, a lady of service sat at a table just down from us. My first thought was to go thank her for her service, but then we decided to offer to pay for her meal. She thanked us so much and proceeded to tell us that she had forgotten her money and had not realized it until she went to buy herself some food.
She cried, which of course caused us to shed a tear or two. It is experiences like this one that make you really believe that everything happens for a reason.
Thank you so much, Jenny, for having a lovely conversation with us and teaching us so much about what you do; and a special thanks for doing what you do. It is truly amazing.”
Jenny Walker will be deploying to the Middle East in January. Perhaps this expression of love in a food court will stay with her to remind her how much the people back home appreciate her sacrifice.
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 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.