FARGO — Can you remember what you got for your seventh birthday? How about your eighth? Ninth?
Maybe there's one special present that stands out, but for me, it's all pretty fuzzy.
It's not the big celebrations or occasions that I remember from my childhood. My brain chooses to hold onto things that are much more random.
For instance, I remember when I was about 9 or 10, my mom would drive me to the "big city" to run errands. We lived in the little town of Reedsburg, Wis., and Madison was about an hour away.
As a treat for being such a good traveling companion, my mom would take me to a store at the corner of Odana Road and Whitney Way. How in the world my brain still remembers the names of those streets, I will never know.
Anyway, in the middle of the little strip mall was a store filled with stickers and the cutest office supplies. To this day, I have a fetish for matching pen and paper sets, but at the time, my little girl self was all about those stickers.
Some of them smelled like grapes. Some of them changed designs when you tilted them a certain way. My favorites though were the sparkly unicorns.
I haven't thought about this store or my passion for all things unicorn in years. But a few weeks ago, I got this letter from Cindy Hendrickson from Frazee, Minn., and all these great childhood memories of shopping with my mom in Madison came flooding back.
Maybe there's someone else out there who will get a kick out of knowing that little girls still like stickers and the random kindness of strangers.
"My 8-year-old great-niece, her friend and I were shopping at a scrapbooking store in Perham, Minn. The girls had $6 apiece and spent 45 minutes trying to find the cutest unicorn paper and stickers. Another shopper told the girls she enjoyed hearing the girls trying to figure out the best bargains for their money and she gave them each $1.
"The girls were so surprised a stranger would give them money. The look on their faces brought tears to my eyes. Yes, they were able to buy sparkly paper and even some sequins. The scrapbook page turned out delightful.
"When I told their mother about this, she said I get the Aunt of the Year Award for spending an hour in a scrapbooking store with two little girls, but I loved every minute of it."
Thanks, Cindy, for allowing me to share your story. I so appreciate being able to walk into that sticker shop again with my mom, even if it's just in my memory.
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.