Nicole Phillips, Published May 04 2012
Phillips: Community support of one helps others
That’s how Heather from Fargo feels sometimes.
Last August, her home burned to the ground. Then in December, she bought a trailer home for $3,000, only to find out that the person she gave the money to wasn’t the real owner. The real owners threw her out a few days before Christmas.
Heather’s got a new place to live now, but it’s coming with complications. Her 4-year-old son was taking a bath the other day when the lights went out. The electricity was shut off, and it won’t be turned back on until she comes up with $1,800. Someone else’s electricity usage ended up in her name.
Heather is a single mom who works two jobs to make ends meet. She tells me that it often feels like she is just “spinning her wheels” and will never really be able to catch up.
What keeps Heather going is her son. According to Heather, little Gage is a package of wonderful fit into a 4-year-old’s body. She loves to see him smile – and apparently, he smiles a lot.
That’s why with only $43 in her pocket, and against her better judgment, Heather pulled over when she saw a little bike for sale. The man selling it wanted $15. Heather was so excited to get the bike for such a steal, she started telling the man about her rotten day and how the electricity had been turned off and how grateful she was to be able to get “the coolest little bike in the world” for such a great price.
The man walked away for a minute and then came back. He said, “I can’t sell you that bike for $15. You just take it.” Then he reached into his wallet and handed her $60. He simply told her to pay it forward.
Heather started to cry. She was so incredibly grateful for the bike, the money and the message that one man had given her, reminding her that she will not always be spinning her wheels. Her time will come to help another.
Heather didn’t know until she called The Forum the significance of an act of kindness from that particular man. The man’s name is Keith Schoon.
Schoon has become a well-known fixture in West Fargo since he started Keith’s Bicycle Repair out of his home. He has fixed hundreds of bikes and donated most of them to children here and overseas. But he was almost shut down last September because of a city ordinance that could only be remedied by putting up a $3,000 fence. When people found out he was working to raise the money, residents and businesses came out in droves to support his cause and make sure that Schoon could continue repairing bikes.
I hope the community realizes what a gift it gave not only to one West Fargo man, but to all of the people he will touch because he was able to continue doing what he loves.
Please, continue to share your random acts of kindness stories at email@example.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, and currently the Executive Director of Diva Connection Foundation. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.