This weekend is the last big hurrah for the lake crowd (sorry for reminding you) and for everyone else who wants to sneak in one last long weekend of fun before we buckle down for the fall.

I’m not sure if you know this about me, but I’m kind of a hermit. I would much rather stay home with my little tribe than fight the traffic on a two-lane highway on a holiday weekend.

Driving and I don’t get along well. I’m what some would call impatient. Perhaps that is why (as my husband likes to remind me) I get speeding tickets once in a while. I just want to get to where I’m going and be there. Now.

I’ve never been the type of person who gets so impatient behind the wheel that I get angry, but I see that on the road once in a while – very kind people in real life who become very unkind behind the wheel.

The good news is there are still people driving around out there with kindness as their co-pilot. I got this letter from a woman whose friend just happened to run into one of those people. Literally.

“(My friend) Dennell Benson was recently in ‘rush-hour’ traffic in Fargo on Interstate 94 heading toward Moorhead. Distracted by the beautiful day, she realized too late that she needed to start braking, and braking fast, to avoid rear-ending the brand-new car in front of her.

“She didn’t brake fast enough, hitting the car at 60 miles per hour, damaging the car in front of her and completely totaling her own. Despite not wearing her seat belt, she and the other driver were completely fine.

“What’s incredible about this story, other than the fact that everyone was OK, is the way the other driver reacted. Rather than getting out of his car yelling and screaming, the driver gave her a big hug and asked her name. When he noticed her last name was Benson, he exclaimed that it was a wonderful Norwegian name, just like his, and began reassuring her that everything was going to be OK and asked if she needed any help. His kindness wasn’t something she deserved or even expected, but he gave it freely when she needed it the most.”

I hope as you travel this Labor Day weekend and into the future that you run into drivers as kind as the one in Dennell’s story. But not literally. Drive safely!

Submit your kindness stories

Please 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.