Every time I see banana-flavored Laffy Taffy, I feel a little tug on my heart.
It’s especially prominent now that my family has moved from Ohio to South Dakota. I left a dear friend in Ohio named Liz. Liz was my son Charlie’s third grade teacher and I spent a lot of time in her classroom. We also spent a lot of time sitting on benches together as we watched our boys play football, basketball and baseball.
In a random conversation one day, I found out Liz likes banana-flavored Laffy Taffy. I think it stuck with me because banana is the only flavor I don’t like.
We turned out to be a good team. Anytime there was a parade, she took the yellows and I got all the other colors. Now, five years later, I still think of Liz every time I’m at a gas station or anywhere else Laffy Taffy pops up.
Remembering a friend’s favorite flavor can mean a lot. At least it did to one reader in Wisconsin who sent in this story:
“The kids love the Fourth of July parade. It is a time to see lots of different floats and get an entire bagful of candy, freezie pops, string cheese and business advertisements.
“We sit in the same spot each year with our blankets and lawn chairs and watch as the kids do all the work, waving and collecting candy when the floats go by. Our main job is to make sure no one gets so distracted by candy, they get run over by a truck.
“My kids know that I love chocolate, but my favorite parade candy is green Laffy Taffy. They will specifically pick it out of their loot and give it to me when we get home.
“This year, about halfway through the parade, my friend’s husband, Kris, tapped me on the shoulder. When I looked over, he had a green Laffy Taffy in his hand. ‘Here,’ he said, as he gave it to me. This may not seem like a big deal. It’s the same thing my kids do when they find it.
“But it was a big deal to me. Kris is an engineer. He’s a quiet, introverted and very intellectual type of guy. He doesn’t usually say a lot, unless he’s talking to my outgoing husband. He comes to the parade because his wife makes him and he is eager to get home when it’s done.
“Kris’ act felt especially kind because he remembered what kind of candy I liked from last year’s parade. For a whole year, he remembered that I like green Laffy Taffy. This made me feel pretty special. And he didn’t only remember, he took his introverted, intellectual, engineering self and walked over and gave it to me.”
If you’re looking for an easy act of kindness, find out what your friend or co-worker’s favorite type of candy is and surprise them with a special treat. You’ll make their day extra sweet.
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 Aberdeen, S.D., with her three children and her husband, Saul Phillips, the head men’s basketball coach at Northern State University. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.