How many times do we run into the same people over and over again and yet still never get to know them?

Maybe you can tell me a lot about your hairdresser, but what about the man who rings you up every other week at the gas station? Or the woman who makes you coffee on Monday mornings? Or the person who hands over your dry cleaning a few times a month?

Who are they? Does it even matter? This story of kindness sent in by Jamie in Glyndon proves that it does.

“Over the years, my mother-in-law, Chris, has gotten to know the mechanic at the car dealership where she services her vehicle pretty well. A few months ago he was in a car accident and hurt fairly badly. She took the time to pay him a visit to see how he was doing and bring him a plant.

Fast forward a few months … She and her son, Dave, and another friend of ours were at our lake cabin moving some stuff around. She had been telling Dave that she really needed to stop in and say hi to the mechanic again. She was concerned about him and wanted to see how he was recovering. They thought maybe they would stop by on their way home. After they finished cleaning up at the cabin they stopped at a restaurant for supper. Instead of bringing the three of them the check, their waitress brought them a message: Their bill had been taken care of by a man dining in the same restaurant.

Lo and behold, the guy who had paid for their dinner was the mechanic, the one who had been hurt and the one they were planning to visit.

When my mother-in-law went over to thank him, she ended up getting the thanks. The mechanic told her that she was the only person who had taken the time to check in on him after his accident. He said he appreciated it so much that the least he felt he could do was to buy her supper.”

This story reminds me that even when I feel crabby, preoccupied or way too rushed to start a conversation with every person I see, it’s important to slow down.

Taking the time to look someone in the eyes, ask how he or she is doing and then actually waiting to hear the response is important. It’s a way to show someone kindness. It doesn’t cost anything, but to the person receiving that extra moment of your time, it could be priceless.

As you work on your New Year’s Resolutions to eat right, wear your seatbelt and call your mother more often, I hope you will work on this one too: Slow down and spread kindness.

Continue to share your stories of kindness with me at or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.