I remember when I first read the book, “How Fargo of You” by Marc de Celle. I was captivated by the stories of kindness weaved through this man’s everyday life as he moved his family from sunny Arizona to our own little piece of (frozen) heaven.
The book prompted me to recall so many acts of generosity in my own life that I went out and bought 10 copies so I could give them away as better-late-than-never thank-you gifts.
Kathleen Isensee of Moorhead said she recently got to experience a “How Fargo of You” moment through her granddaughter’s money mishap.
“In an effort to earn a little extra cash for Christmas gifts and life expenses this past holiday season, my granddaughter, Abby, started sewing and selling sweater mittens. Abby is a college freshman on a very limited budget.
“After delivering an order to a nurse at Sanford, my granddaughter turned to leave the clinic and put her hand in her pocket to reach for the $50 bill she had been paid just minutes earlier. To her dismay, the bill was gone and her pocket was empty! She hadn’t gone far from where she had been handed the bill, so she retraced her steps and spent several minutes searching the area. A kind woman asked Abby what she was looking for and then spent the next several minutes helping with the search as well.
“Shortly thereafter, a man also joined in the hunt. After 15 minutes or so, they decided the search was fruitless and Abby left her name and number with the clinic attendant, in case anyone should turn it in.
“About an hour later, Abby got a call from the clinic saying they had $50 for her. She asked more about it and the clinic attendant admitted it wasn’t actually Abby’s $50 bill, but that the man who had helped in the search left her $50 cash.
“Abby was so touched. She hopped back on the bus and eagerly went downtown to pick up the money. She was so honored by this generous act of kindness and wished that she knew the man’s name so she could thank him personally.
“Later that night, after a full day out and about, Abby went back to her dorm room and kicked off her boots. To her surprise (and dismay), the original $50 bill fell out of her boots. Somehow, the money had dropped from Abby’s pocket, safely into the inside of her tall winter boots. Abby was now very perplexed. She didn’t know how to return the money because she had never gotten the generous stranger’s name. As she went to bed that night, she knew that she wanted to do something good with the money in honor of the man who had given it to her.
“Later that week, as she and a group of friends went to view the holiday lights in Lindenwood Park, she used some of the money to pay for the three cars behind her. Throughout the rest of the holiday season, as she walked past Salvation Army kettles and even rang the bell herself, she dropped in the money.
“It warmed my heart to see the Christmas spirit in action: first through the kindness of strangers toward my granddaughter and then through her own acts of generosity. Abby told me she hoped the people in the cars they paid for in Lindenwood felt that spirit and went out and shared it with others. I hope she’s right.
“To the woman who helped Abby and the generous man who gave her his own money, we want to say ‘thank you’ for making this a very memorable season for our entire family and hopefully for others beyond our knowledge. How Fargo of you!” – Kathleen Isensee, Moorhead
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.