Our Opinion: Brainerd catches the spirit

A little brightness and a little holiday cheer seem more important than ever right now.


It can be hard these days to remember all the good that exists in the world.

That’s why it was so heartening to see what Brainerd area residents started last week at Dairy Queen in northeast Brainerd.

A spontaneous act of kindness -- one drive-thru customer offering to pay for the food of the customer in line behind them -- turned into the ultimate “pay-it-forward” display in which, to date, almost 1,000 customers have followed suit over the course of several days.

Related: Our Opinion: Let’s do our part to support our local businesses We need our economy, our businesses, to stay solvent so when the pandemic is finally over, they can come back strong quickly.

That’s astounding, and the generosity displayed by our community hasn’t gone unnoticed.


“You brought smiles and maybe even little tears to our whole Crew and we're sure to you as well,” the northeast Brainerd Dairy Queen posted on its Facebook page Wednesday, Dec. 9. “This is a great act of Humanity, this is what the world needs a little more of. Whether it be to make someone's day, the Holiday Spirit or to just feel like a kid again. Thank You Fans for letting (us) serve you one red spoon at a time! Keep the positivity going, spread the love!”

We couldn’t agree more. It’s wonderful that such a small gesture can remind us of the good intentions that reside in so many people and spur so many to reciprocate. And the impact of the act is being felt well outside of Brainerd, too. The story has been picked up across the globe, appearing in Twin Cities media, the major national TV networks, CNN, People magazine and the BBC, just to name a few.

And while Dairy Queen’s pay-it-forward story is garnering the headlines, we know it is just one of many places in the Brainerd area where this has happened. That speaks volumes about the people who call the Brainerd lakes area home, and we hope that spirit and generosity can serve as an influence for people everywhere.

Related: Our Opinion: It’s well past time to start taking COVID-19 more seriously We need to be willing to make sacrifices for our community, for the greater good. That’s the patriotic thing to do.

A little brightness and a little holiday cheer seem more important than ever right now, when it appears half the country doesn’t want to get along with the other half. What it shows us is that despite our real or perceived disagreements, deep down we are good, charitable people and friendly neighbors.

So let's keep that spirit going through the holidays, through Christmas and into the new year. Acts of kindness are not exclusive to any specific time of year or to any specific event. We can carry it with us wherever we go and into whatever we do.

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