I’m turning the big 4-0 this week. When I was a kid, 40 sounded so old, but now that I’m here, I have to say I would never want to go back to being 20 or 30. My skin may be a little wrinkly, but it’s so much more comfortable at this age.
Heading into this monumental birthday, I gave myself three goals: 1) to lose the 8 pounds I had gained since moving to Ohio a year ago, 2) to finish reading the Bible cover to cover (I’ve been working on it for four years now), and 3) to finish writing a book that’s been on my heart for the past 10 years.
Done, done and DONE! I don’t know what sort of life goals I’ll come up with for my 50th birthday, but I’m sure there will be something since we are all a work in progress.
The funny thing about birthdays is that they are really special, but usually only to the person who is actually celebrating. I humbly admit that my birthday is way more important to me than it is to you or anyone else. So, to celebrate my special day, I’ll spend the evening sitting in a mandatory parent meeting for my daughter’s upcoming class trip to Gettysburg. Not exactly what I’d like to do on my birthday, but maybe I’ll bring along cupcakes and force everyone to pretend they care that I’m nearly over the hill.
It sure is nice when people go out of their way to make you feel special, on your birthday or any other day. I got a letter from Sharon in south Moorhead who wrote to me about an act of kindness that made her feel “warm and special.” We all deserve to feel like that at least once a year.
“It was in December of 2013, on my birthday, at Hornbacher’s in Moorhead. I had finished buying groceries and found that my car wouldn’t start. I called a tow company, and expecting to have to wait awhile, I was taken by surprise when two young gentlemen arrived in such a timely manner. I told them I was so surprised they arrived so quickly. Having recently started up this business, they remarked that it is their goal to not have anyone wait more than 5 to 10 minutes.
“As we were driving to south Fargo to the automotive shop, they needed my license to fill out the paperwork, and they noticed it was my birthday. They wished me a happy birthday and we had such a nice conversation during the short ride. After dropping off my car, they asked me how I was going to get home, and I told them I would wait until my husband got off work in two hours and have him pick me up. They offered to take me home, though I knew they were not required to do so. I tried reassuring them that I didn’t mind waiting at the shop, but they insisted they would help. I took my groceries along and off we went. Again, I was amazed at their willingness to help me.
“Once we got to my house, they carried my groceries and the other packages I had purchased that day, and didn’t leave until I was inside with all of my things. I offered to pay them and they absolutely refused! They were all smiles and again wished me a happy birthday and off they went.
“I had plans that evening to have dinner out, and because of these men going beyond the act of duty, I had time to get ready and enjoy the evening. I will be forever grateful for such acts of kindness.”
Those men at the tow shop didn’t send flowers, they didn’t run out and buy a last-minute gift, they didn’t even zip off a quick “Happy Birthday” Facebook message. They simply made this woman feel special on her special day by showing her a little kindness that went a long way in saying, “This day is important to you and therefore it’s important to us.” Isn’t that just what kindness is all about?
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 columns run every Saturday.