Have you ever been on one of those vacations that requires an additional vacation just to recover?
My dear friend, Ann, celebrated a special wedding anniversary with a trip to Europe with her husband. Ann deals with a lot of chronic pain, so you can imagine the toll that flight took on her body. Luckily, Ann knows the power of kindness to fill you up when it seems you have nothing left to give.
“We were on our way home from France, and waiting in the Toronto airport during our layover. We had flown all day, which means we were exhausted because you really can't sleep the same as you can on a night flight. My entire body was tired and sore. I was walking through the airport trying to stretch out and pass the time.
"I noticed a mom with an 8-month-old baby. The mom looked like she was just as exhausted as I was. I had been seeing her around, but didn't know anything about her.
"At one point I noticed that she had taken her baby off into a corner to nurse her. She was there for a long time and it felt lonely to me. It also gave me flashbacks to 22 years ago. I remember so well how that felt when I was alone in an airport with my son, Luke. I was nursing him and I was exhausted. That memory convinced me to talk to the mom.
"I walked up to her and said, ‘Hey, I'm going to go get you something over there at Starbucks. What do you want?’ The woman was stunned. She was like, ‘What do you mean? Really?’ I said, ‘Yeah! You want a coffee or cappuccino or something?’
"Still not believing me, she said, ‘Are you serious? Well, OK.’ She told me what she wanted and I brought it back to her.
"Even though she was pretty isolated, there was one other man sitting kind of close to her. He heard the whole exchange and I guess he heard me tell her that I was in the same position 22 years earlier with my son. As I handed her the drink, I said, 'I remember 22 years ago how I felt. I was so tired. You're going to get through this day. It's going to be a really long day, but you're going to be fine. And you're doing a great job.'
"I went back to wandering the airport, just walking and waiting for the time to pass. The guy who was sitting near the new mom walked past me and said, ‘You know, that was really a nice thing that you did back there. That was really, really cool.’”
That could have been the end of the story, but then the man said something that completely delighted my friend Ann. He went on to add his own kindness to the situation by saying, “By the way, you must have been like 10 if you had your son 22 years ago.”
Kindness truly is contagious.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Aberdeen, S.D., with her three children and her husband, Saul Phillips, the head men's basketball coach at Northern State University. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.