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Nicole Phillips, Published January 13 2012

Kindness is contagious: ‘North Dakota nice’ found in Frisco

People in North Dakota are nice. But how nice are they when they leave the state for, say, Frisco, Texas?

According to Candi, from Lisbon, “North Dakota Nice” travels. She sent me this letter to thank the random Bison fans who helped her out in a pinch.

“I found out at the last minute that we had gotten tickets to the Bison football game in Frisco, Texas. Frantically, I prepared to be gone from work and get the suitcases packed for the midnight leave time.

“I could hardly believe the adrenaline high that we were on as we discussed the game and all the events that were scheduled for the Bison fans on our14-hour steady drive.

“After arriving safe and sound we checked into our hotel for a good night’s sleep. We were up early to find the stadium and were so excited to see all the NDSU banners hanging around the Pizza Hut Stadium.

“I had my digital camera on hand and was on high alert snapping photos of the festivities. We continued on to the Marriott Hotel for the pep rally and social gatherings.

“Snap! Snap! Wow! Uh-oh! I realized that my re-chargeable camera battery was running low, and I had left my charger back in North Dakota.

“I asked a friend if I could use his camera. He agreed and told me that this was his first camera ever. I put it in the case in my coat pocket for safe keeping.

“With the borrowed camera, I continued on my day of photographing fans, classmates, tailgaters and the NDSU marching band.

“Suddenly, we were caught up in a wave of people heading quickly to the street to see the Bison players and coaches getting off the team bus.

“Excited to get them as they came off the bus I jumped over a row of bushes and reached inside my pocket to get the camera. It was gone! I felt my heart sink and start racing at the same time.

“Frantically, I felt all the coat pockets, told my husband and others I couldn’t find the camera and the search began. Spectators helped us, and a dad even asked his young son to “get-low” in the bushes and help look for the camera. We retraced the dozen or so steps since I had last used the camera. To no avail. GONE.

“My husband and I told the owner of the camera that we would replace it.

“Game time was getting closer and we did continue walking through the rows and rows of tailgaters and visiting with fans. However, the bounce in my step was gone.

“While the four of us were standing and visiting back at our car, a family of three came behind us and asked if we’d lost a camera? Yes. I couldn’t believe it. What were the odds of this happening? I gave the lady a big hug, thanked her and told her that I appreciated her honesty so much. We asked them how they knew it was our camera, and they said after a discussion about what to do with it – turn in to the stadium lost and found or write it on the Bison website – they decided to look at a couple of the photos and see if they could find the owners in the tailgating parking lot.

“All but six photos were of us in Frisco, and we were the only people on it in the parking lot. They said they found the camera at about the same spot I thought I’d lost it.

“Among the hundreds and hundreds of fans in the parking lot they found us. I’m glad I was at the right place (Bison win) at the right time (camera found) and to know there are honest people like Tracy Heinze and her family. Thank you!”

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

Nicole Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.