I’m often asked if the state of the world is as grim as it seems. I have to be honest: In my opinion, it’s not.
I get to hear good stories day after day, like this one sent in by Michelle Lund from West Fargo. They remind me that even though we don’t always get to see it, there is so much good happening around us.
“Recently my husband and I were at the cemetery to put flowers on the graves of his parents and grandparents. We had the pleasure of meeting a very thoughtful and kind lady by the name of Diane. She inspired us to Pay it Forward and share this 'Kindness is Contagious' story which actually started during a time of devastation many years ago.
"In Fargo on a Thursday afternoon in 1957 an F5 tornado hit which devastated property and even worse caused several to lose their lives. My husband was at home at the time and can still remember the debris streaming across the living room window. That is when he headed to the basement.
"The Munson family who lived in the Golden Ridge area lost six of their children to the horrific storm. Mercedes Munson was at work and should have been at home but her replacement worker was late. The six Munson children refused to leave their home and were determined to wait for their mother. The oldest brother was babysitting at someone's house so he survived.
"My husband and I went to the cemetery in Moorhead to put flowers on the graves of his parents and grandmother. When we drove up, a woman stopped what she was doing and asked us if we were part of the Munson family. Neither my husband nor myself actually heard her the first time so we started walking towards her.
"She repeated the question, ‘Are you part of the Munson family?’ The name was not familiar to me since I'm not originally from the Fargo area, but my husband is and so he quickly got involved in a conversation with the woman. She wanted to explain why she was at the cemetery putting flowers on the children's grave sites in case we were part of the Munson family.
"The lady had been at the cemetery placing flowers on some of her family's graves when she noticed there were some very old, faded flowers on the Munsons' graves. She drove into Fargo-Moorhead and purchased new flowers for all the graves. She was aware of the fact that the mother had recently died as well.
"We were amazed and touched at her positive, kind and caring actions. I asked the thoughtful lady what her name was and she said Diane. I thanked her for the Munson family and also from us for her great kindness. What a testament to others. She left a smile in our hearts and inspired us to make sure this story got told so others can know how touching these acts of kindness can be.”
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.