Many of us – including me – take our biggest blessings for granted. Not only do I overlook everyday blessings, but I am quite often ungrateful for the biggest gifts in my life.

Instead of being grateful for the ability to hear my rambunctious boys, I tell them to be quiet.

Instead of being grateful for the ability to see my daughter’s creativity strewn all over her room, I tell her to pick up the mess.

Instead of being grateful for a healthy body, I hunt for the closest spot in the parking lot.

Carol Ricker of Pelican Rapids, Minn., sent me a new perspective when she sent me this letter about her friend, Darlene.

“I so enjoy your columns and take heart in knowing there are so many kind people in this ‘crazy’ world.

“I am writing you about my friend, Darlene Splittgerber of Pelican Rapids. For years, she has had no sight at all in one eye and very limited sight in the other.

“I learned from my sister about a machine called a video-magnifier, which my sister leases from her local Lions Club. I asked the Pelican Rapids Lions Club and my church, Pelican Rapids Baptist, for assistance in getting funds for purchasing a machine for Darlene. They purchased a machine, but that particular machine didn’t work for Darlene.

“During those months, I was in contact many times with Sandy Beutler from Minnesota Services for the Blind, located in Moorhead. What a kind and caring woman Sandy is.

“Darlene’s husband, Fred, passed away in October of 2012. Her days were endless, and not even being able to read her mail made her time pass all the more slowly.

“In August of this year, an extremely generous and kind-hearted man named Mike Eckhardt donated a very expensive video magnifier machine through Services for the Blind. Darlene was the happy recipient of a long-awaited dream come true!

“I’m certain that Mike could have sold it, as the machines sell for up to $5,000. Having purchased it for his parents who no longer use it, he chose to make someone else extremely grateful.

“Darlene is now able to read her Bible, and I’ve seen her get out old special cards, discovering new messages that she didn’t even know were written.

“Sandy, thank you a million times over! Mike, you are a hero! After six months of waiting and frustration, all is well. There were many prayers said by many people. God answered.”

Thank you, Carol, for sharing those acts of kindness.

At 84-years-old, you probably have the right to say you are too tired to help, and yet you changed another person’s life because you found the strength to persevere and fight for a friend’s happiness. Thank you for adding your light to this world.

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.

Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is an author, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Bison Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday. You can also get a Daily Dose of Inspiration from Nicole at