My friend, Heather, died of cancer when we were 30. I remember walking through a deli with her when she was deep in the battle. I noticed how other people looked at her out of the corner of their eyes.
When my friend noticed another woman wearing a scarf over a bald head, Heather marched right over to her, said “Hello!” and wished her health and healing. How I wished I could be that confident and that kind.
Amber Kapple of southeastern Ohio sounds like my friend, Heather. Amber is going through some health struggles with her son, but thanks to her boldness, she's spreading kindness without even planning it.
“I had no intention of leaving the house today, but being ‘Mother of the Year’ that I am, I noticed my son, Kruze’s, prescription was almost empty, so in our sweats we headed to Kroger. As he sat eating an orange through the peel in his typical 2-year-old fashion, I tried to hurry through and grab a few things.
"Unfortunately, I badly need glasses. I can’t read the food labels anymore. There were several people shopping, but the closest was about 10 feet away. She was probably in her late 60s, with a mask on and not a hair on her head; she was obviously battling cancer. But she had on glasses!
"I gingerly asked if she minded telling me how many carbs were in the salad dressing I was looking at. She read it. In the meantime, Kruze was doing his standard wave and bellowing out ‘Hi’ to her. After some small talk, we went on our way. Within a few minutes, she had caught up to us in another aisle.
"She said, ‘I just want to thank you for choosing to speak to me.' Anyone who knows me knows my face immediately had an expression. She must’ve sensed that I didn’t understand.
"She said, ‘I’m going through chemo. Most people see me but don’t see me. They look right at me but quickly look the other way like I scare them or something.’ I could’ve responded so many ways, including, ‘Yeah, I figured. I’m a nurse.’ But what I said was, ‘I just saw you had on glasses. My eyes are getting so bad and I knew you could help.’
"Then she smiled and got teary eyed. I introduced her to Wildman (Kruze), who at this time was determined to climb out of the cart and get to her. Of course we ended up passing several more times, each with smiles, waves, and Kruze throwing a Pringle toward her.
"As we were checking out, she touched my shoulder and said, ‘God bless you again.’ I went out to my car and cried. How many times has she felt people see her but don’t see her?
"Obviously she is dealing with major health issues. Isn’t it funny how God can use two oblivious people with bad eyes to see not with our eyes but with our hearts?"
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at email@example.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, Saul Phillips. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.