I feel sorry for people who live in warm climates. They never get to experience the incredible kindness that comes in the middle of a massive snowstorm.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, my family drove from Aberdeen, S.D., to Moorhead for my husband’s basketball game. A friend let us stay at her house while she was gone for the weekend. Our little tribe can fill up a house in a hurry, so it was a blessing not to have to stay in a hotel.
Saul and the athletic director made the decision to bring the team up early to avoid the oncoming snow. That meant instead of my husband going up and back in the same day with the team, there would be a few overnights.
No problem, except that we have a 70-pound goldendoodle and the kennels were full. Saul decided to let Dakota (the dog) ride the bus with the team.
I called my friend to find out if there was a place in Fargo we could board her. “I have a kennel in the garage and it’s heated. Just bring her.” The kids and the dog were all delighted. Kindness.
As we snuggled into our temporary home, the snow began to fall. And fall. And fall. Just as I was trying to figure out how we were going to shovel my friend’s massive driveway, a neighbor popped over with his snowplow. Kindness.
The three-hour ride back to Aberdeen on Sunday took us five hours, but we made it home safely just as it was becoming dark. I was waiting to turn onto a street in Aberdeen when I noticed the car in front of me wasn’t moving. Well, his tires were moving, but the rest of the car wasn’t.
We hopped out of our car quickly and ran up to give him a little push. One push later, we realized there was no way two of us were going to unstick this vehicle.
The image I saw when I looked over my shoulder will be seared in my memory for a long time. I still get joyfully overwhelmed when I think of it. Coming up behind us, emerging from the darkness and illuminated by headlights, were a dozen men and women. They must have come from plowing or towing or hunting, because they were dressed in full winter gear.
With one push, the little car was free. I smiled at the group and said, “Isn’t it nice when we all look out for each other?” The woman in the group laughed and said, “You started it!” My heart was so full as I walked back to the car, thankful that we were able to help another.
The kindness didn’t stop there. As we approached our house, we could see that someone had removed all 12 inches of snow from our driveway. Ahhh, kindness.
If you ever wonder if your winter acts of kindness matter, they do. They keep us warm inside no matter how cold it is outside.
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.