Reroute a bad day with the gift of kindness

"Kindness is Contagious" columnist Nicole J. Phillips hears from a reader about an online ordering accident that led to the ability to give some love to others on Valentine's Day.

Nicole J. Phillips
Nicole Phillips, Kindness is Contagious columnist.

On the days I wake up feeling down or defeated, I know it’s time for a gift.

Not for myself, but for others.

There is nothing that reroutes my day faster than picking out a little treat for someone. It doesn’t even matter what it is. I’ve purchased funny magnets at the gas station, a 2 liter of soda for a Mountain Dew lover and Starbucks for my hairdresser even though I didn’t have an appointment.

I don’t explain myself, how I am feeling or why I’m doing it, because by the time I get done giving the gift, I feel great. My entire day has changed course. Don’t believe me? Try it!

Teresa, from Athens, Ohio, felt the same joy I feel when she accidentally had extra gifts to give away. This is not the same Teresa who is on my Kindness Team, but she sure could be!


"A few years ago, Kay Jewelers had a promotion before Valentine’s Day, offering sterling silver double heart rings for $4.99 with free shipping. I thought I was ordering one ring in a size 7, but when the shipment came, I apparently ordered seven of them.

"I figured there was a reason for this error and decided to do something special with the extras.

"We are members of local veterans organizations, so I offered rings to a couple of ladies I thought might need a little extra boost of love.


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"The reaction I got from the ladies was so heartwarming. One very troubled lady said she didn't have anyone who cared about her anymore. She told me how much the gift meant to her and then went around the room showing others what she had received. When we left, she was still chatting it up with the people around her and smiling from ear to ear.
"Every time I’ve run into her since that day, she always smiles and raves about how much she cherishes that ring. I just tell her everyone needs love and as long as she has that heart on her finger, she will always have love.

"I shared another ring with a young girl whose parents are separated. I know they were going through some really troubled times, but the girl smiled cheek to cheek and gazed at it like it was worth a million bucks. Seeing her so happy for those few seconds was priceless.

"It is amazing how far a few dollars will go in bringing happiness to someone on the occasions they might be feeling alone and defeated.

"A little gift lets someone know you thought of them and maybe that will give them hope on hard days.


"Every one of the rings brought sunshine to the recipients, but it brought joy to me too.

"In fact, I was having so much fun giving them away that I accidentally gave them all away! I forgot to keep one for myself!

"I guess I got more joy out of giving them than in having one for myself."

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at

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

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