The late, great Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi had a thing with time. His players knew there was “normal time” and there was “Lombardi time.” If you played for Vince Lombardi, you were 15 minutes early, or you were late. I used to operate on Lombardi time. I loved being early. I appreciated a few extra minutes to get myself in order and set my mind on the task ahead. And then I got married.

My in-laws like to tease me about being a “True Phillips” because I have developed the habit of trying to fit just one more thing into each segment of the day. If I have an appointment in 20 minutes, instead of leaving immediately and being ten minutes early, I generally decide to do the dishes and separate a load of laundry, thus making myself ten minutes late. It’s a Phillips Family trait.

On any given day, how busy are you? Or maybe I should ask, how busy do you make yourself? Do you allow time in your schedule for the unexpected, or do you cut everything down to the last minute?

I have no idea who the woman in the following story is, but I know one very important thing about her: she leaves room in her day for kindness.

This letter was sent in by Jack McKeever of Red Lake Falls, Minnesota.

“My wife and I would like to share an experience of kindness that happened in North Fargo.

“Our daughter is wheelchair bound and lives at New Horizons Manor on North Broadway. She was returning home after shopping at Hornbacher’s grocery store across the street and was having difficulty holding onto the items in her lap while controlling her electric wheelchair. A very thoughtful lady parked her vehicle and went to our daughter’s aid.

“The lady carried some of the items all the way to our daughter’s apartment door. We don’t know her name, but wish to convey our appreciation for her help.”

Thank you for sending in your story, Jack. It is a great reminder that when we slow down enough to see the needs of the people around us, we open the door for kindness. Maybe that means stopping long enough to literally hold open a door or maybe it means carting someone’s groceries all the way to their front door.

I don’t know how Vince Lombardi felt about paying it forward, but I have to believe with 15 extra minutes planned into his day, he had to have a little time in there allotted for kindness.

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.