Have you ever had kindness show up just when you needed it?

If your answer if yes, when you’ve finished your morning coffee, please send me your story. That’s what this column is all about. We share stories of the kindness you’ve given and how it made you feel, or the times a kind act happened when you needed it the most.

Kindness has the power to change the way we see people. It has the ability to break through our hard shells, because we want to help another human the way someone else has helped us.

Kindness becomes contagious when it connects with gratitude.

Chester Rorvig of St. Cloud, Minn., remembers an event that happened 30 years ago that still lives on today because of the gratitude he felt when two strangers showed up in his time of need.

“My wife and three small children had been at Valley Fair in Shakopee, Minn. It was a hot day, the kids were tired and we were just heading back to our home in St. Cloud.

“All of a sudden, the car engine raced and the car accelerated to a much higher speed. Stunned, I managed to shift into neutral and coast the car to the shoulder of the road.

“Cars were passing by, going fast and close to my now-parked car. I shut off the engine, then started it again, with the same high racing engine results. Things were scary and I was worried about my family’s safety.

“I got out of the car, opened the hood and pondered what to do. All of a sudden, two young men appeared. They had parked their RV behind me and came to help.

“After my brief description of the problem, they adjusted the carburetor. I started the car and it ran just fine. As I got out of the car, ready to thank them, they quickly left. I did not get their names or where they were from. I seem to recall that I shouted a ‘Thank you!’ as they returned to their vehicle.

“I suspect these two helpful guys have long since forgotten their kind and timely deed. But I have not. Every once in a while something happens to remind me of their kindness, such as when I see someone stalled along a road. I am more ready to help such folks, as I think back on this kind deed that two individuals delivered. These two guys helped me out of a bad situation 30 years ago, but their kind act continues even now.”

People have a choice. They can give the compliment or keep it to themselves. They can allow the person to go in front of them or continue barreling on through. They can stop and help a stranger or pretend it’s not their problem.

If you feel like sometimes you have a hard time making that choice, maybe it will help to know that your kindness doesn’t start and stop with that one event. Oftentimes, it lives on in other people for years to come.

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at info@nicolejphillips.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.