Back when my now-teenage daughter was 7 or 8, we got to experience the grand tradition of Girl Scout cookie sales.
I don’t know how it works these days, but back then we had to estimate how many cookies we could sell and then order them in advance. Jordan has always been a go-getter and this experience was no exception. She set her sights high and was about 80 boxes short of reaching her goal. Translation: we had 80 boxes of Girl Scout cookies sitting in our trunk that we needed to either sell or pay for ourselves.
I know the troop would have worked together to make sure they all were sold, but Jordan really wanted to make the sales on her own.
Fargo resident Ralph Jose swooped in and saved the day when he bought every last box. He gave them as a donation to the New Life Center, a place dedicated to helping people who are homeless or in crisis.
I thought about Ralph and the kindness that came from those cookie sales when I got this letter from a woman in Wisconsin.
“My 8-year-old daughter, Hannah, joined Girl Scouts last week, just in time to help with their biggest fundraiser: cookie sales.
For our first event, we set up a booth at the exit of the Piggly Wiggly. We danced, sang and pretty much did everything except tackle people to get them to buy cookies.
Many people bought a box, and some even donated money directly to the troop. One lady bought two boxes and asked us to ‘pay it forward’ and give them away because she was on Weight Watchers. This gave the girls a great opportunity to learn about kindness.
Well, it turns out, it was pretty hard to give away those two boxes. People kept saying ‘Awe that’s so nice!’ but then would keep paying it forward by buying the boxes we were trying to give them!
Finally, we asked one of the customers who should receive the free cookies. She told us that the week before, her son had collapsed in the dairy aisle. A Piggly Wiggly employee helped bring him to the bathroom to get him water and called an ambulance. She said he was a gentleman who stocked the eggs and wore glasses.
The Girl Scouts were inspired by this story, so off we went, hunting through the store to find this ‘egg man.’ Luckily, he was working.
We explained the entire ‘pay it forward’ story to him and said the mom of the boy he helped last week wanted him to have the box of cookies. He was so embarrassed by the attention, he didn’t want to admit he was the one who had helped out, but finally he admitted his favorite flavor: Caramel Delights!
It was neat to talk to the girls about kindness and watch this story unfold.”
Whatever flavor kindness comes in, it’s a sweet gift to give or receive.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.