For the record, you should never do anything in front of children that you might find embarrassing when talked about in front of adults.

When we go on vacation, I like to hunt down the town’s best specialty bakery. I have a tendency to buy two flavors of cupcakes at a time because it just feels like too much pressure to have to make a choice. I’m gluten-free, so getting a cupcake at all is a big deal.

I never knew my kids noticed this peculiar habit until one day my child was talking to an adult. He said something to the effect of, “If my mom can’t decide on something, she just buys them all.” So not true. So very embarrassing to be called out. It seemed too complicated to explain what he meant, so I just blushed and walked away.

There’s a teacher in Wisconsin who may be a touch red in the face after reading today’s Kindness is Contagious column. Her student was delighted to know the gift she gave was well-received, and immediately reported back to the mother who sent in this story.

“We were in the candy aisle at the grocery store last week and my 9-year-old daughter said, ‘Hey Mom, there’s my teacher’s favorite candy,’ as she pointed to the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. She knew this because they talked about everyone’s favorite candy after trick-or-treating for Halloween.

“‘Can we buy some so I can bring them to school for her tomorrow?’ ‘Sure,’ I said as I watched her grab the biggest bag she could find and throw it in the cart. My daughter’s teacher is fresh out of college, has only been teaching for two years, lives at home with her mom and dad and told me once she doesn’t have room in her closet because her homecoming dress takes up so much space. She is doing a great job with a tough class. There are a few rowdy kids, and it always feels like a dance party in the classroom.

“The next day, my daughter was really excited to bring the candy to school. She wanted to leave it as an anonymous surprise on her teacher’s desk and was really excited about her top-secret plan. It turns out the teacher didn’t leave her desk that morning, so my daughter just quietly gave it to her before recess and said, ‘Thanks for being my teacher.’

“At school pick-up, my daughter got in the car smiling from ear to ear. ‘Mom, I know she really liked it because the bag was open and they were half gone by lunchtime!’”

When I read this story, I had to giggle because the teacher’s reaction would have been my reaction to such a thoughtful gift. Besides, when kindness presents itself in such a sweet way, sometimes you have to gobble it up!

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.