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Nicole J. Phillips, Published June 21 2013

Kindness is Contagious: Gestures make big impact as Bison FB players visit 5-year-old hit by vehicle

My son spilled his entire bowl of cereal today.

He was supposed to be sitting at the table eating his breakfast. Instead, like a typical 3-year-old, he was bouncing around in his chair and trying to see if he could balance his spoon on the edge of the bowl. The next thing you know, Lucky Charms are flying through the air.

It was almost enough to send me into the “I told you to sit still!” mom-tirade. Almost. Instead, I thanked God that my little boy is healthy and happy and sitting on my kitchen chair instead of lying in a hospital bed.

Thanks to Michelle Kliem, a concerned grandmother from Carrington, N.D., I remembered to count my blessings. Here is the letter she sent me.

“Tragedy struck our family last week, making it hard to smile. But as I was running my normal three-mile stretch today, I began thinking of all the random acts of kindness others have shown to our family, and I instantly felt blessed. I feel the need to tell our story so everyone knows it’s true, that each one of us can make a difference in the life of another.

“(On June 11), my 5-year old grandson asked his mom if he could go play with his friends across the street. He lives on a quiet street in West Fargo, not a through street, with nothing behind his house but a man-made pond and fields.

“He jumped on his bike and two seconds later was hit by a vehicle. He went flying through the air, and in his words, into the clouds.

“Shortly thereafter the ambulance came and out jumped the EMT angels. They started asking Teegan his name and kept him talking while they went to work. They made the “mistake” of cutting off his favorite Bison shirt, which did not go without comment from the broken little boy. The EMTs didn’t know that he loves the NDSU Bison, that their Christmas card shows the family in Bison-wear, or that Teegan is pictured with Brock Jensen.

“My husband and I jumped in the car and journeyed to Fargo to see our little man. He was so covered with road rash that the only way we knew to love him up was to rub noses with him. He was lying in a hospital bed, broken with fractured collarbones, ribs, a shoulder blade and small holes in both lungs. My heart still bleeds for him.

“One day later, while Teegan was lying in that hospital bed as white as the sheets that covered him, two EMTs showed up to see how he was doing. They brought him new Bison clothes.

“His Uncle Ryan came to visit with a tractor balloon so big one has to walk around it.

“His dad’s friend, Mitch, came to visit, himself a father to four young kids, bringing Teegan a digger.

“Last Friday, Teegan got another surprise visit. Brock Jensen and Zach Vraa, two NDSU Bison football players and heroes to Teegan, showed up. What an impact on a broken little boy! Those two college athletes, living their own busy lives, showed up to brighten a long, depressing day for a young child.

“Teegan is getting stronger each day. He stood for the first time but is afraid to walk as the orthopedic surgeon designed a halter for him to wear that binds his arms against his chest. I think he knows if he trips or stumbles he can’t catch himself and will only fall and injure his already broken torso.

“His road rash is healing rapidly, and he got to go home. You can tell Teegan is starting to feel better because he is now concerned about the welfare of his bike.

“I wanted to write this letter to say, “Thank you,” to all the people who have taken the time to check in on Teegan and raise his spirits.

“Don’t think for a moment you can’t make a difference in the lives of others. All it takes is your time.”

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at nphillips15@hotmail.com. 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 is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is an author, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Bison Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.