By Nicole Phillips

I am officially afraid to open my email.

I come from the world of television news. If you didn’t like how I looked, what I said or how I was saying it, you turned to your husband and complained to him. I seldom got to hear feedback from viewers.

Apparently the newspaper world is a whole different game. I never imagined that when I asked readers to write me, they actually would. I am overwhelmed by all the stories of kindness. They are captivating, and each one is filled with real-life characters I want to meet.

And yes, I’m afraid to open my email in front of anyone because I know there’s a good chance it contains yet another story that will bring me to tears.

I have to be honest: I had already written the first several articles for this column because I was sure my inbox would be empty. I’ve thrown out my prewritten stories and instead decided to let you read one of my emails.

This is from Judy, who now lives in Fargo:

“Nicole, I’m sure in a community like ours you are getting flooded with stories of acts of kindness by others.

“One that sticks out in my mind the most is from back in 1993. I was working at the Roger Maris Cancer Center, and I was a single mom. I had been single for 11 years, and my daughter, Charity, was 12 years old at the time. She was diagnosed at the age of 4 with dilated cardiomyopathy.

“She was on medication, and none of her friends knew anything, but the people I worked with did. They knew if I got a call that was urgent, I would need to leave immediately.

“During that time, I needed to get a test on my heart just to see if Charity’s condition was somehow inherited. They didn’t find cardiomyopathy, but they did find a 1½-inch hole in my heart. The doctor said I should have it operated on soon.

“The problem was that Charity’s heart function had gotten worse and they wanted to put her through the strenuous testing for a heart transplant around the time I would be operated on. I had just bought a house over in Moorhead six months before my diagnosis. I knew I would probably lose my house now as I had to miss a week of work for Charity’s test and I didn’t know how long I would be out for my surgery.

“Before my surgery, the director of the Cancer Center asked me to stop into her office. There, on her desk, was a bag of cards. She told me to take them home and read them if I could before my surgery. So that night I sat at my table and opened every card with Charity at my side. Every one of those cards had money in it and words of prayer and good will. I had enough money to make three house payments.

“I went into surgery with not an ounce of worry about losing my house. I knew that I was taken care of, not just by God and Charity, but by the wonderful people I worked with, and for that I am eternally grateful.”

Thanks for sharing your story, Judy. I am grateful, too.

Continue to share your random acts of kindness stories at nphillips15@

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.