The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Molly Birch
Molly Birch

My name is Molly, and I am in my second year at NMU. I come from Midland, MI, probably one of the most boring places on earth. However, we do have the only Tridge in the world, so that’s pretty nifty...

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Acts of selflessness can have limitless impact

While walking on campus, down the street or into a store, do people still ever stop and open the door for another  individual? What about saying hello to a complete stranger or helping an elderly person across the street?

In this fast-paced, ever-changing and technology-filled world, how many people actually take the time to acknowledge and appreciate the individuals around them?

A couple of weeks ago, I had a front row seat at what a true act of kindness in today’s world looks like.

Saturday evening, the day before Easter, Walmart was crowded beyond belief. Families were scrambling to gather the last toys, candy and food for the upcoming holiday.

Story continues below advertisement

I was shopping for my weekly necessities, then I got into the checkout line behind a mother and a child. Inside her basket was an immense amount of food, toys, energy drinks and candy.
After all of the items were rung up, the total came to $350.

The single mother pulled out her bridge card and swiped. Sadly, the cashier informed the mother that there was a $100 limit on bridge cards.

The remainder  of her total was $250. The single mother frantically started putting items back. Toys, food—anything and everything that would save her money. The total was still $160 even after she’d removed a large portion of the items.

As the mother pulled out a credit card to finish the remaining total, her hand was trembling. She was a mess as she frantically swiped her dark blue card through the machine.

There was complete silence in the line while the card processed for 30 seconds. The cashier told her that her card had been declined, then the mother began shaking more. With tears of embarrassment welling up in her eyes, she pulled out her phone as an act of desperation. Maybe, just maybe, the card would work and she wouldn’t have to hold up the lane.

Behind me in line was a mother of three young boys—an infant, a 3-year-old and a mischievous 5-year-old who looked like he was always on the hunt for more candy. Chaos was at an all-time high as the line grew longer and the customers started to become more impatient.

I felt a soft hand on my back that caused me to lean forward slightly. The mother of three moved past me and gently asked the other nervous mother, “May I help you with this?” She handed $50 in cash to the cashier then paid for the rest of the other lady’s total with her debit card.

There was an overwhelming rush of emotion afterward. Both mothers embraced while tears ran down their faces. I began to tear up as well as the cashier at this true selfless act of kindness.

Acts of kindness don’t need to be grandiose gestures, but merely an appreciation and acknowledgment of the next human being.

You never know how a simple smile or a short conversation may help even the most dull characters.

In the United States, 45 million people live below the poverty line. The median income for people living in Marquette is about $35,213.

That is just over $2,000 per month, not factoring in bills, groceries, housing, insurance and transportation.

Opening a door for someone, saying a friendly hello or even starting a small conversation with a stranger holds impact far beyond what we care to know sometimes.

The world is much larger than a lot of people  see it while constantly on their laptops and phones. Step out of your comfort zone, appreciate the things around you and acknowledge even the most unsuspecting of characters.

Acts of kindness are rare, but when one is witnessed or indulged, the impact is great.

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love,” according  to Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher and father of Taoism.

More to Discover