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Nicole Phillips, Published August 17 2012

Kindness is Contagious: Reader finds some kindness on open road

We are hearty people here in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Last winter my dad called me from Wisconsin to ask how long I would have to stay in my house. The Weather Channel was reporting wind chills in Fargo of 50 below. I laughed as I told my dad that this is just life in Fargo.

Here we are in the heat of summer, and it’s hard to believe it was ever really that cold.

Dennis Gullickson of Moorhead reminded me of those chillier times with this letter he sent. The weather almost got to him, but thanks to a summer thaw and some kind strangers, he made his way back home.

“Dear Nicole, it warms my heart to read the wonderful stories of people paying kindness forward with good deeds. It is true that people all over have good hearts and will reach out to help someone in need. I want to share what happened to us many years ago.

It was after the huge snow fall of nearly 120 inches in the Winter of 1996-97 that my wife and I decided to explore warmer climates and headed to Texas for business and then to Albuquerque, N.M. On our way from Dallas to Albuquerque, we encountered car problems and ended up in northern Texas over Memorial Day weekend, waiting until we could get our car repaired.

With repairs behind us, we set out for New Mexico. It was mid-afternoon when we again had car problems and found ourselves stranded on the freeway with no way of reaching anyone without finding a land line phone. A quick check of a map suggested it was at least 10 miles to the next town, so we decided to wait it out. We opened the hood and turned on the blinkers hoping that a good Samaritan would stop and help us out with a ride to the nearest phone so I could call AAA.

An hour went by as cars roared passed without even slowing down. As we watched, we noticed a car going west with two young people in it. It appeared to be a young couple. As I watched the traffic heading east, I noticed what I thought was that same car with the young couple. Sure enough, they had gone to the next overpass to turn around and drove many miles to get back to us.

The couple took us to the next town where we found a phone. But the real story was told by the young couple who informed us they had previously found themselves alone in Oklahoma with no money and a broken-down car. They encountered a man who heard their story and told them he would arrange for their car to be repaired at his expense, and he would also provide money for a motel room and food for their stay until their car was fixed. All he asked was that they find an opportunity to pay it forward in the future and help someone in need.

As their car sped past us, they remembered what the man had asked. So they turned around and went out of their way to help us. We have never forgotten this young couple and their act of kindness.”

Thanks, Dennis. I’m glad to see that after all of your travels you decided to brave the chances of another snow storm and spread your kindness back in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

I hope you will 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, 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.