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Nicole Phillips, Published May 25 2012

Phillips: A kind act helps us slow down, see the good

I feel like I’m in the middle of a tiny tornado. Or maybe it’s just a big windstorm. Either way, the world is moving quickly, and I can barely catch my breath.

I thought I was the only one feeling this way until the other day. I was talking to a couple of girlfriends and they shared the exact same sentiments. I call it end-of-the-school-year-itis. It’s that time of the year when school activities are ending, but not before a few final recitals, tournaments and parties.

Summer schedules are being confirmed, paid for and coordinated. Then we throw in a Memorial Day weekend cookout or trip to the lake just to further confuse our already off-kilter minds.

When the world becomes too hectic for me, I often find that I lose my patience. I’m the lady at the store yelling at her 2-year-old to sit down in the cart, explaining to her 6-year-old why we don’t need another box of M&M ice cream cookies, while discussing how to handle second-grade friend issues with her 8-year-old daughter.

It’s times like these, I am so thankful for the person who looks me in the eye and smiles. That’s it. They don’t have to pay for my groceries or offer to watch my children. They just smile and say with their eyes, “I see you.”

JoAnne Vieweg, of Fargo, must be one of those people. Her acts of kindness may not seem huge to her, but they are noticed and appreciated. Like this one:

“Hello Nicole, I so enjoy reading your column. Although my stories don’t compare to the one where the church gave parishioners money to spend on others, they do speak to the idea that we can create the world we want to live in.

I grew up in the Midwest – St. Louis – to be exact, and was so impressed to see that the same kindnesses and friendliness were here in Fargo. My mother always taught us to be kind and generous of spirit, especially when others seemed to be lacking in it. I do believe we get back what we send out to the world.

On a recent visit to St. Louis, I encountered a young couple with a baby in a stroller attempting to get onto the elevator at the mall. The escalators were out of order so there were a lot of us in this large elevator. The man was using crutches and having a difficult time maneuvering his family. I walked across the elevator and pushed the “open door” button and held the door as they entered. They smiled and nodded a thank-you.

A few minutes later I was waiting in line at the food court and the woman in front of me asked me to go first. She had been in the elevator and saw me hold the door for the family.

“That was a kind thing you did, and you deserve a little kindness back,” she said. It was such a small thing I did, but it made an impression on a stranger, who found a way to return a kindness. That felt wonderful.

Just this weekend I was in the mall in Fargo and was struggling to get an arm sling situated over my coat. A woman approached me and asked if she could help me get the strap attached. Such a small act, but a welcome relief.

Thoughtfulness and kindness go in both directions. I truly believe we can make a better world and that the energy we send out from ourselves comes back to us!”

Thanks JoAnne! We can create the world we want to live in. Now there’s something to slow down and think about.

Please, continue to share your random acts of kindness stories 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, 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.