Girl Scout cookies. Those three words breed some strange mix of excitement and anxiety deep inside my soul.
I love Girl Scout cookies. I’m always excited when I start hearing about them because it means spring is on the way.
But things have changed since I was a Girl Scout. Way back then, we put on our little Brownie vests, stomped up and down the streets with an order form in hand, and gave our cutest won’t-you-please buy-some-cookies smiles to every person on the block, whether we knew them or not. Several weeks later, we rang those doorbells again to hand over the Thin Mints in exchange for a few bucks.
These days, each Girl Scout has to estimate how many she can sell and PRE-ORDER those cookies. If a girl orders 100 boxes of cookies, she is responsible for turning in $400. Now do you see where my anxiety comes from?
Honestly, I like the new method of sales because you don’t have to go around twice. There are no messy order forms – just an upfront fair trade. Still, I get a little nervous that for some reason, this will be the year people decide to stick to their diets and stop supporting the Girl Scouts, leaving me with the tab.
Here comes the kindness. My daughter decided she would sell 60 boxes of cookies this year. Several weeks into it, we still had 54 boxes left. I ate 6 boxes.
I was confessing all of this to a very kind man who works at the YMCA. His response was, “Well, just tell her to try and finish selling them and then send her in to see me.”
A week later, we went into the Y with our leftovers: 12 boxes. That kind man made my daughter’s day when he told her he wanted to buy ALL 12 BOXES. She grinned from ear to ear but was completely speechless when he asked her to hunt down another 2 cases, so he could buy those, too.
I thought I had found my Girl Scout-cookie-eating soul mate. As I was getting ready to ask where we should meet to chow down on those Peanut Butter Patties, this sweet man told me about another turn of kindness.
Every year, he buys leftover cookies and takes them to the New Life Center in Fargo. It’s a rescue mission where people without a home can go to get back on their feet. The New Life Center had an average of 98 men a night last year.
I asked my friend why he chooses to donate his time (he’s on the Executive Board of Directors) and his cookies to the New Life Center. He said he loves hearing the success stories that emerge all because people who were in a tough spot had a place to go to regain their power.
The cookies that he drops off for those men might not be a sign from God that everything is going to turn out all right, but then again, it might be. We never know how kindness circulates and multiplies. And who knows what magic can be found in a box of Caramel deLites?
OK Fargo, it’s your turn. I’m still looking for stories of kindness. Please, tell me about a time someone was especially kind to you or a time you did something nice for someone else.
How did it make you feel? What reaction did you get? I truly believe when people read about the joy kindness creates, they will want to try it too, proving yet again, that kindness is contagious.
Send your stories of kindness to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.
Nicole Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday in SheSays.