I am not a picture taker. That’s my mother-in-law. And my sister-in-law.
Going on vacation with them is an exercise in patience because we are constantly stopping to pose.
I was only annoyed until the first scrapbook arrived. Now, I have years of memories lovingly laid out in tidy books on my shelf.
Sarah loves to take pictures, and not just of her family. She began taking pictures of acts of kindness as well.
“Sometimes people make fun of me for all the pictures I want to take. Friends and family will groan and say, ‘Not another picture!’ But I know the short amount of discomfort will be worth it to capture the moment.
“When I look back at these pictures, they make me smile — and I hope the same can be said for this picture of kindness. My 3-year-old daughter, Alaina, and I were grocery shopping. We try and get our big shopping runs in when her two older sisters are in school.
“We usually have a pretty good time at the grocery store loading the cart up, people-watching and talking about all sorts of random things, like ‘What is your favorite flavor yogurt?’ (Orange Dreamsicle) or ‘Smell this green stuff. Who in our family likes to eat this?’ (Cilantro — and only Mom).
“On this special day, we were in the reading section picking out a magazine for a friend about to have surgery. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around. An elderly man asked, ‘Can your daughter have a peppermint?’
“I watched his shaky hand reach into his pocket and pull out a red and white candy for Alaina. He held it out to her and asked if she would like it. With a big smile she accepted and then surprised all of us by saying, ‘Can I have one for my sister?’
“He reached in to grab another one and she looked at him and said, ‘I have two sisters.’ We all giggled as he replied, ‘Well, it’s your lucky day, because I have two peppermints left!’
“I politely asked the couple if I could take their picture. The wife looked a bit caught off guard and hesitant, but agreed.
“This is the third time we have run into exceptionally kind people at the grocery store. Once, it was a gentlemen who ‘found’ silver dollars behind my daughters’ ears. Since it was magic, he let them keep the coins.
“Another time, it was an elderly man who gave all three girls gold chocolate coins — just because. These are people who understand the power of kindness and they are spreading it at the grocery store, one child and peppermint or coin at a time.”
Sarah adds a quick way we can all show kindness to others: She says the next time you see someone taking a group shot, offer to take the picture for them. Most people feel special when they are asked to be in the photo!
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, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Athens, Ohio, with her three children and her husband, Saul Phillips. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.