Being a coach’s wife has its perks. I got to take my kids to the NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball tournament this past weekend in Indianapolis.
For most people, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For the Phillips kids, it’s part of Daddy’s job. Sometimes I wonder if my children will ever realize they live a life many middle-aged men would trade their left foot for.
Anyway, while I should have been focused on the teams and the hype and the fanfare, I was stuck in a land called Nostalgia.
I kept thinking about how one year ago, at this same tournament, my husband accepted a job that would start the next chapter in our lives.
I was reminiscing about the whole whirlwind of our move to Ohio when a family friend said, “You should really put together a to-do list for other moms who need to move.”
What a great idea! I immediately put everything aside and made my list. Here it is: Surround yourself with good friends.
That’s it. Just make sure you have a circle of personal cheerleaders so when the going gets tough (or your husband decides to take a new job), you have people to lead you through the chaos.
I had friends in Fargo pack my suitcase, take over taxi duties for my children when I was too exhausted to wiggle, and even coordinate the sale of my house. They showered me with kindness during my last six weeks in North Dakota.
When I got to Ohio, God’s greatest gift to me wasn’t the nice house or the good schools or the warmer weather; it was the people. After only a year, I am humbled to say I have a group of friends who love and protect me like a mama bear protects her cubs.
But before those friendships were formed, I relied on little acts of kindness from strangers to help me get through each day.
An online post from a woman who recently moved to Fargo reminded me of how fortunate I am to now be surrounded by such close friends.
This woman didn’t have a support system in place when she made the move to the F-M area, but she soon felt the kindness of the community.
She posted this thank you note on the website reddit.
“I just want to say thank you so much to the angel at the gas station who helped me. I don’t know if you’ll see this, but thank you … Thank you so much for giving me $20. When I asked you for some gas, I was flat broke and my tank was empty. It means the world to me. I’m a single mother of two sons and these little things help. We moved here from out of state. I had just gotten a job, but our fridge was empty, our gas tank was empty and I’m not going to see a paycheck for another two weeks. What you did for me was truly a blessing.”
The responses that came after that post were extraordinary. People from the Fargo area offered to have pizza delivered to her door, sent her the address and hours of the emergency food pantry, emailed her Walmart gift cards, and offered to donate clothes to her boys.
The outpouring of kindness included this message, “I’ll meet you at a gas station and fill up your gas tank the rest of the way. I’ll come wherever it’s most convenient for you. If I don’t get back to you right away, I’m sorry. I work the graveyard shift so I might be asleep, but I will get back to you.”
And this one, “Moving is stressful. Let me know of a couple of restaurants in town where you and your boys would enjoy eating. I’ve got you covered for dinner and a movie! I’ll send some e-gift cards if that’s cool with you. Welcome to Fargo!”
Can you even believe there are people in this world who would go so far out of their way to help a stranger? I can only imagine that at some point, someone, somewhere, helped them out in their time of need, and now they are giving back, proving again that kindness is contagious.
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.