By Nicole Phillips

“What would Nicole do?” I honestly had a women tell me she thought those words to herself as she watched a man try to pile an entire load of dumped lumber back into his pickup, in the rain, in the middle of 45th Street.

Um … maybe I gave you the wrong idea. I don’t always do the right thing. But I love hearing about people who do. So to Sarah, who stood in a downpour in front of Space Aliens to help a stranger pile up twoby-fours, let me say, good for you! I’m glad you caught the Kindness Bug.

Sarah’s 10 year-old son was there to witness the whole thing. What an amazing example she set. Just like Beth, who sent me this email:

“It was so heartwarming to read your article in the Fargo Forum. I connected with you immediately, because part of my daily routine as a teacher (and mother) is to teach my students the importance of random acts of kindness on a daily basis. At the bottom signature of my emails, one will see the words ‘because Kindness Matters,’ and the signature of my text messages on my cellphone reads ‘because nice matters.’

“The purpose of both signatures (in my technology world) is to hopefully remind people of what is important in life. I, too, am not one to tell others about something nice I did for someone, but this random act of kindness keeps resurfacing to warm my heart and influence my children.

“Two years ago during the flood fight, I was at the JCPenney hair salon about to purchase $45 in hair products for myself. Ahead of me were two soldiers from the Guard who had come in to get haircuts during their break of building dikes to save our flooding community. After the gentlemen were brought to the back of the salon for their cuts, I put all my hair products back on the shelf and told the cashier that I wanted to pay for the soldiers’ haircuts.

“With a surprised look on her face, she asked me, ‘Are you serious?’

“ ‘Absolutely,’ I responded. ‘I can do without styling products for a couple months, but we can’t beat the flood without the soldiers.’

“The gal behind the counter asked if she could tell them my name. I told her, ‘No, thank you. Just tell them thank you for all they do.’ My gesture felt so small compared to what they do for us every day. But the impact it left on my 7 yearold son standing next to me and the cashier behind the counter, began a chain reaction of kindness.

“As we left the store empty handed, the little boy holding my hand smiled and said, ‘Wow, Mom, that was cool. I bet they will be so happy!’

“When I returned to the salon a couple of months later, this time with all three of my boys, the lady at the desk remembered me immediately. She smiled and said to my sons, ‘Do you know how kind your mom is? What she did for two strangers one day reminded me to go out of my way to help others.’ My boys smiled, and my oldest son replied with, ‘Yeah, thanks. We know.’

“It wasn’t a pat on the back I was hoping to get; it was the example it set for my sons and three perfect strangers … a chain reaction. Not to mention, it felt good to do it because it made someone else happy.”

Thanks, Beth.

Continue to share your random acts of kindness stories at nphillips15@ Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious, c/o Nicole Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.

Phillips’ columns run every Saturday.