I say that I’m grateful for my health and the health of my family. I say that I’m grateful for the food that makes its way to our table. But maybe I’m not.

Health and nourishment have always come easy. If I really knew what it was like to go without either, I think my gratitude level would change entirely toward both.

Perhaps there are some things that you can’t truly understand unless you’ve been there, in the midst of the battle.

A woman named Fran is going through the battle with her husband. He’s getting radiation at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Fran says she and her husband are counting their blessings because it’s preventative radiation. But still, they are on the battle field and they know what it’s like. Maybe that’s why their hearts were so touched when they encountered another couple who looked wounded and beaten:

“One morning last week after treatment, we went to the patient cafeteria for breakfast.

“While in line, we noticed a young couple ahead of us about to pay for their breakfast. When the clerk rang up their order, they didn’t have enough money to pay for it. It just broke my heart to think that, here are two people, one most likely ill, and they cannot pay for their breakfast. The clerk made a comment that they could return something on their tray. I told the clerk not to worry, I would pay the balance of their bill.

“We got our food, paid for our orders and found a place to sit. I noticed the young couple went to sit in the farthest corner of the cafeteria, away from everyone. I sat there trying to figure out a way to make sure they had enough to eat. I was about to suggest we talk to the clerk when my husband said, ‘Why don’t you see if we can buy them a punch card or something?’

“I spoke to the clerk, and we were able to purchase a Mayo Clinic gift card they could use in any of the Mayo cafeterias. I walked over to them and told them they could use it anywhere in the Mayo System, trying my darndest to hold back my tears.

“When they left, they came over to our table and gave us a hug and a huge thanks. My hope is that when they are able, they can pay it forward. It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day a little bit brighter.”

Even in middle of their own concerns and expenses, Fran and her husband opened their eyes and their hearts to the needs of another couple. If they had simply paid for the extra food, it would have been helpful and solved the immediate problem, but taking the next step and loving those strangers enough to take a future burden off their plate took great kindness.

I can only believe the extra kindness they extended was good medicine for them all.

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.

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 columns run every Saturday.