My first job was as a television traffic and news reporter for a morning show in Milwaukee.

It was 1998, and I was making $18,000 a year. When the job was offered to me, I was ecstatic. I got to be on TV and they were going to PAY ME!?

I quickly realized that when you’re on TV, people tend to think you’re wealthy. I was embarrassed by the fact that I had to wear the same three suits over and over again because I couldn’t afford anything new. I was constantly explaining that I was “trying out a new hairstyle,” when in reality, I just couldn’t afford to get it cut.

I loved those years of being young and single and learning how to get by on my own. I’m so thankful for what they taught me about what really matters in life and what’s just icing on the cake. I’m grateful that as an adult, I can help others out sometimes with my time or money. And I’m in awe of other people who make it part of their life’s mission, like the man who helped out a young couple when they were down on their luck.

“My name is Nick Korth. My wife, Mandy, had something amazing happen and I felt the need to share it.

“My wife was in getting an oil change when she was told her vehicle had some additional work that was required. It was not a lot more, a couple hundred dollars, but at the time, it was a lot of money for us.

“She was in the small shop with our two children and Mandy called me with the news, asking, ‘Nick, what should I do? What are we going to do?’

“My response was ‘Well, I guess you will just have to get it done. We will figure something out.’ Mandy became upset over the phone, and you could tell that we were really struggling with having

to have the work completed.

“A man had been standing in the shop while she was talking with me. He paid for the work on his car and left.

“Mandy had gone outside for a bit to get some fresh air, and when she got back, the work had been completed. Mandy asked ‘What was the total?’ as she was going through her purse trying to find her debit card.

“The clerk said, ‘Do you remember that man who was in here?’ The clerk smiled and said ‘Well, he called back and said that he wanted to take care of that nice woman’s bill.’

“A man who was a complete stranger, who was seeking nothing more than the opportunity to make someone’s day, did so in a big way. It turned a very stressful time into a story we will never forget.”

I hope you will continue to share your random acts of kindness stories with me at 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, a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo, is 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.