Some people just ooze sunshine and enthusiasm wherever they go. You can’t help but like them, because their attitude is just contagious.
I’ve had the chance to spend some time this summer with someone like that. His name is Hale Scraper, and he is 9 years old.
Hale was in a summer theater program with my kids. Since we have to drive right by his house to get to the theater, I told his mom we would pick him up every day. She thought I was doing her a big favor, but the truth is, I was getting the better end of the deal.
You see, each morning for four weeks, I would gather my three children in the car. They would immediately tune into the DVD player after which all hope of conversation was lost. Then we would stop at Hale’s house.
The minute that little boy got in the car, the entire focus changed. The TV went off because we all wanted to hear about Hale’s latest adventure at the lake where some critter or another escaped its un-natural habitat or his recent trip to a zoo in Michigan where he learned lions with big manes attract females with a Justin Beiber-like attraction.
It didn’t take long before Hale wanted to know what he needed to do to get in my kindness column. I told him it was really simple. He just had to tell me about an act of kindness that he had been a part of or seen someone else do.
The next day, I got this story from Hale who talked his older cousin Morgan into writing it.
“Hello, my name is Morgan and here is a story about how my cousin Hale and I helped an injured boy. We were at the Fargo all-city track meet because our brothers were doing events. Hale and I had been playing in the sandpit area.
The sandpit was fun-filled and exciting, but then, all of a sudden, a boy swinging on a single monkey bar fell off with a thud. We could hear a quiet sob. Hale and I approached the hurt boy. The kid’s wrist looked painful and fractured. Hale told the boy, ‘Stay here while we go get help.’ Hale and I sprinted up the bleachers to tell my dad about the boy. My dad followed us down the stairs and went to the boy with the fractured wrist.
While he assessed the situation and walked the boy to an empty picnic table, I ran out onto the track looking for help but did not find any. Hale had more luck. Running along the fence, he spotted a member of the National Guard who agreed to help him. The member of the National Guard called 911 when he saw the boy’s wrist. The boy had to keep his arm near his stomach and not move it until the ambulance came and took him to the hospital.”
I can just picture those two kids running as fast as their legs would take them to help save the day.
I asked Hale why this story of kindness was important to him. He told me it made him feel so good to be able to help someone else, and that every time he thinks about it, he still gets that happy feeling.
Being kind isn’t a five-minute high. It’s a feeling that refreshes itself each time you revisit that experience in your mind. It can pick you up when you’re feeling tired, emotional or unsure of yourself.
Thanks, Morgan, for helping your cousin write that great story. And thanks, Hale, for bringing so much sunshine to our summer.
Give your kids some fun homework during this break from school and have them send me their stories of kindness at email@example.com. 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, and currently the Executive Director of Diva Connection Foundation. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.