Sometimes it feels like we’re on the same team and sometimes it feels like we’re not even playing the same sport. Have you ever felt that way with people? I know I have.
Whether it’s a playful difference of opinion or a deeply rooted divergence in values, I hope at the end of the day, we can say we loved people well. That’s my goal.
In particular, I want to be available to the person in front of me who may need a helping hand without trying to size up where they stand on foreign policy, domestic affairs or the debate over MLB.
- Phillips: Everyone needs a cheerleader
Wanda Venham-Schaad sent me this story of a man who showed up willing to help, no questions asked.
"My boyfriend, Hank, lives in West Virginia, just 13 miles from me in Ohio. He is constantly giving me a hard time about being an Ohio State Buckeyes fan.
"A few weeks ago, he was on his way home from a medical appointment when he got a phone call from his VA doctor.
"He pulled into a nearby McDonald’s to take the call. While he was sitting there, he noticed his low tire pressure light came on.
"The rain was pouring down and it was awfully windy, but before he could even get out and look at the tire, a young man pulled up to his window and asked if he needed help.
"When Hank told him yes, the young man took everything out of the trunk, changed the tire and put everything back, including the big heavy hydraulic jack Hank had just purchased.
"Hank offered the young man $20, but he said ‘No, that’s too much!’
"My guy insisted and the man finally took it. Wow, that made me tear up.
"Even in these trying times there are good people out there. I just thought people might like to hear about one more example.
"And oh yeah, the best part! I forgot to mention the helper was a Buckeye!"
On a personal note, I met Wanda a few years ago. Our paths crossed because we both had breast cancer and lived in Southeastern Ohio.
I love the story of kindness she sent me, but the words she included at the end of her message really reminded me to look for the good in all circumstances and how truly simple it is to make someone’s day.
She ended her message by saying, “I love and appreciate all you do for mankind. And I’m so very proud to know you. See? Breast cancer does bring about goodness. I would never have met you! Take care and stay healthy!”
Imagine saying to someone, “I love and appreciate all you do for our family … our community … our company.” Fill in the blank. Where do you see people helping others?
Those are powerful words of kindness. They bring unity. They remind people they matter. And they don’t ask for anything in return.
Thank you, Wanda, for both seeing the kindness and being the kindness!
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at email@example.com.
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.