Phillips: The little things are the big things
In today's "Kindness is Contagious" column, a reader explains how a personal call from Dairy Queen made a special occasion even better.
The resilience we’ve each had to learn through COVID will be a tool we rely on for the rest of our lives. That’s certainly one benefit of the last few months.
One more benefit I’ve seen is the realization that little things really do matter. I used to get caught up in the hustle, and sometimes I still do. More often, though, I’m able to see that the little things are the big things. Like getting a personal call from Dairy Queen. That’s what happened to the woman who sent in this story.
"Our extended family was flying in from Denver, Colo., to stay at our home in Madison, Wis. We were looking forward to having family together to celebrate the daughter’s high school graduation. During COVID times, we have missed seeing people through our usual social gatherings.
Phillips: Kind words hold new power In today's "Kindness is Contagious" column, Nicole J. Phillips xxx
"With fewer activities on our calendar, we had extra time to prepare our home to welcome our family. Clean sheets on the bed, white towels in the bathroom, and my first Costco run in four months that felt like a therapy shopping spree.
"I called the local Dairy Queen to order a graduation cake. The grandparents were planning on stopping by for our mini graduation celebration so we decided to go with the big ice cream sheet cake.
"'It’s to celebrate a graduation,' I told the young man on the phone. 'Would you please decorate it with some bright colors?'
"He took my order and told me we could pick it up after 10 a.m. the next day. About 7:30 that evening, my phone rang.
"'Hi, this is Trudy from the Fish Hatchery Road Dairy Queen.' Hmmm. Something must be wrong.
"'I’m getting ready to decorate your graduation cake and it says you would like bright colors. Are there any specific bright colors you were hoping for?'
"Wow. This really made me stop and think. With all the online ordering, grocery pickup, DoorDash deliveries, and other technology options we so often leverage, Trudy actually took the time to reach out and make this personal.
"'Hi Trudy, thanks for calling. It’s to celebrate our 18-year-old cousin who just graduated from high school. Feel free to use any color you think would look nice.'
"'Do you know what her school colors are?' Trudy asked. I hadn’t even thought about incorporating school colors!
"My husband grabbed the graduation announcement and we learned that the school colors are black and gold. The next day, we picked up the most beautifully decorated graduation cake I had ever seen. It had gold shimmery flakes on the top and the black frosting was pretty awesome.
"Trudy’s kindness will not be forgotten. I hope to meet her when we are ordering Blizzards next time so I can thank her for her kindness and thoughtfulness face to face. Or maybe I can share this story with her boss."
I’m certain Trudy’s boss would like to know he has an employee who knows that the little things really are the big things.
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Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.