John Foster: It’s doggone nice to be nice

My sister who lives in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina has a dog, Simon, that she takes to a local dog park almost daily.

The dog owners sit around and chat while their pooches gallop and play.

Well, Simon got sick with double pneumonia. He wound up spending a lot of time at the dog hospital with a collapsed lung, fever and weight loss. After several weeks, he appears to be getting better.

During this time, Simon and his mommy were absent from the dog park. My sister recently got a phone call from one of her dog park friends asking if she could stop by and see how they were doing.

As she was ready to leave, this friend handed my sister an envelope. It contained a card with well-wishes from other “dog-park-people” along with $700 in cash. My sister was blown away by the gesture. Very nice, wouldn’t you say?

About this same time, I noticed a news story that had a headline asking, “Nice People Don’t Value Money?”

It was from a Columbia University study that concluded nice people finish last when it comes to managing their finances because they don’t value it as much. Nice people prioritize hanging out with people over material wealth.

Now, I wondered if there was an ulterior motive to this story by inferring people of wealth aren’t nice people, but that’s another topic for another article.

I’ve learned that there are five types of money personalities: big spenders, savers, shoppers, debtors and investors.

This Columbia study compared saving goals with “personality traits” such as “agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, openness and extraverson.”

People higher in “agreeableness”, a trait exemplified by kindness, generosity and warmth also tend to have poor financial outcomes when comparted to others.

My sister said the “givers” were mainly one-incomers, young, working couples and others who she thought might not have the financial resources for such a gift.

Author Jim Goad said, “There’s nothing more valuable in life than someone who’s nice to you and means it.”

It supports my belief that despite what we may think about this world of ours and the “idiots” we read and hear about daily, there’s a whole bunch of good people around us doing nice things.

Simon the dog is healing, my sister has a better feeling about people in general, and one of my beliefs has been reinforced: You can’t judge this world by what you hear and read in the news.

I truly believe “news” is the exception to the norm. That’s why aberrant behavior makes headlines.

Being nice is too common. It’s bad for ratings.

But it’s still important to be reminded of good people doing good things from time to time.

Seven hundred dollars helped with some vet bills, but it helped more showing people still care.

Nice people may not value money, but they do value something more important: People.

John Foster anchors “All-News-in-the-Morning” weekdays on 1010 WCSI-AM and 98.1 FM. You can read his weekly blog at and monthly in The Republic. Send comments to [email protected].