I celebrated my birthday at the beginning of May by asking people for ideas of little acts of kindness I could do on my big day.
It was fun hearing about all the ways people had celebrated their own birthdays in the past. My favorite ideas came from Pixie Neece, of Fargo, who gathered her friends and dedicated the entire day to loving others.
“This year was hands down the best birthday I ever had. The rules were no gifts for the birthday girl, but I did ask my friends to bring some specific things for the day.
"I started the day by picking up flowers. Then a friend and I took homemade caramel rolls to F-M Ambulance and to the workers at three of my neighborhood convenience stations. The best comment one worker made was, ‘I also accept random acts of kindness on un-birthdays!’
"Then we headed to a nonprofit organization called Hope Blooms to meet up with several more of my tribe. Hope Blooms repurposes flower donations from weddings, funerals, and corporate events. In their workshop, volunteers disassemble the donations and make new smaller bouquets. These are then delivered to different places.
"On this particular day it was to Vibra Hospital, a long-term rehab center on the seventh floor of Sanford Medical Center, which happens to be close to my heart. We delivered the bouquets to the hospital and then headed back to my house for a taco-in-a-bag luncheon.
"After that, more friends arrived. We made fleece tie blankets for the Ronald McDonald House. Also, each family was asked to bring $10 worth of items to put in activity bags for kids whose parents are hospitalized at the VA and a $10 gas station gift card. We put the gift cards in brightly colored envelopes with encouraging messages on them.
"We delivered the blankets to the Ronald McDonald House and then headed to the hospital parking lot for a scavenger hunt of sorts. We cruised the lot looking for cars that looked a little (or a lot) beat up and run-down. We placed the brightly colored envelopes containing the gift cards on those cars’ windshields.
"Finally, we quickly bagged up homemade enchiladas and delivered them to two nearby fire stations. It was a full day of running and doing, but I have never had more joy. We sat down and ate together our own pan of enchiladas and reflected on the day. I asked my friends which activity had been their favorite, but we couldn't choose! We loved everything!
"It is the first time I was ready for bed at 8:30 on my birthday, but it was the best day ever!”
It sounds like Pixie and her friends sure felt the truth of the saying, “It’s better to give than to receive.” I think they also did a pretty good job of proving that the key to a good night’s sleep is a day filled with kindness.
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 Athens, Ohio, with her three children and her husband, Saul Phillips. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.