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Kindness is Contagious: Winter provides unique weather for kindness — and surprise Dairy Queen cakes

Nicole Phillips, Kindness is Contagious columnist.

Are you sick of winter yet? I know. Stupid question.

I’m in Ohio, so we’re seeing promises that spring will indeed arrive, but I remember all too well the 10 winters we lived in Fargo. Even if there are signs of new life, another cold spell comes blasting in, and March feels like the dead of winter.

People are crabby. Everyone is ready to burn their heavy coats, hats and gloves. And the entire grocery store parking lot is filled with idling vehicles thanks to remote car starters. It’s easy to get caught up in the gray mood when you’re constantly trudging through gray snow.

But have you ever thought about this? There are acts of kindness you can do in winter that you can’t do other times of the year. I’m not talking about shoveling the neighbor’s driveway or donating hand warmers to the homeless. Those are great ideas, but the sweetest idea I’ve heard comes from a woman who lives in Wisconsin.

Just to set the wintry stage, the kids in her town have missed nearly 20 days of school because of ice and snow. The woman tells me the general consensus of the town is that they’re all going to go crazy if spring doesn’t show up soon.

Well, the other day, this woman’s husband, who is a financial planner, decided to deliver a birthday cake to one of his clients. Everybody knows that any season is a good season for a Dairy Queen ice cream cake, so that’s what he bought.

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He showed up at the front door with cake in hand only to find out his client wasn’t home. Thank goodness it was winter.

Instead of having to hustle the cake back to a freezer, the man simply set the cake down in the middle of the driveway and drove away. Sure enough, the birthday recipient came home a few hours later to find a fully intact frozen treat in front of his house. No note, no explanation, just a DQ ice cream cake sitting there.

We know how this all went down because the birthday boy posted on social media, “Got home tonight to find this Dairy Queen cake sitting outside my garage. This is going to keep me awake tonight trying to figure out who left it. You all have made my day wonderful.”

That’s an act of kindness you can’t do in the middle of summer or if you live in Texas. I hope this story spurs on thoughts of unique acts of kindness you can do that allow the winter season to work for you, instead of against you.

There are plenty of ways to warm someone’s heart, even in the dead of winter. When we warm someone else’s heart with kindness, we always end up warming ourselves in the process.

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at info@nicolejphillips.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, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Athens, Ohio, with her three children and her husband, Ohio University Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.