Red and blue lights whirled in my rearview mirror. Uh oh. Someone was in big trouble. I turned the corner and drove another block before the police car came up behind me. I pulled over to allow the officer room to pass. After all, I am a law-abiding citizen.
Imagine my surprise when the officer pulled over right behind me.

Imagine my double surprise when I realized I was being pulled over right in front of my husband’s office.

Imagine my triple surprise when I saw my husband walk out of the building at that exact moment.

I was mortified.

My husband has called me “Gordon Leadfoot” for years. I think it’s a compliment because he has such a great respect for the singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, but maybe not. Perhaps he just enjoys a clever play on words and making fun of his wife.
Anyway, I knew I would never live this down.

Saul walked up to the officer and cheerfully exclaimed, “Thank you, sir, for keeping our streets safe! It’s important that hoodlums, like this woman, know they can’t get away with breaking the law.”

The confused policeman watched as my husband handed me $20 and told me to keep the change. I had been speeding, but thanks to North Dakota law, my ticket came to a whopping $10.

Yes, dear people who live in every other state in America, North Dakotans are so nice even their speeding tickets feel like a gift. Unless your husband is standing there watching. Then you just want to crawl under the seat and let your 10-year-old take the wheel.
I explained to both the officer and my husband that I was so busy singing with my children, who were in the backseat, that I hadn’t realized the decline in the speed limit. Neither man seemed super impressed with my parenting.

Luckily, I know other people can relate to my story. We’ve all been there in one way or another, feeling the tinge of red in our cheeks as an embarrassing moment comes upon us. Judy Bristol from Fargo shared her own story with me.

“Last summer I was going to the clinic for an appointment. I didn’t miss my billfold until I went to pay for my lunch. I had my emergency rummage sale cash in my car, so I went and got that.

“About that time, my husband called and asked what I was doing. When I told him I was out for lunch, he wanted to know how I had paid for it.

“It turns out my billfold wasn’t just left at home, it had truly been lost. A woman had found it near a busy stop light four blocks from our house! She called my home phone and told my husband she had it. He had already gone and picked it up for me.

“A couple of weeks later, I finally got to her house with a gift certificate to thank her in person. Her husband didn’t even know she had done this great act of kindness! What a ‘Fargo nice’ lady she is!”

Thanks Judy! I think we can learn another lesson from you today: always keep a stash of rummage sale cash handy—for misplaced billfolds or speeding tickets.

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.

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. Her column runs every Saturday. You can visit Nicole at