Spreading Joy, One Phone Call At A Time


Getting a compliment is a rare occurrence in the media world. With phrases like “fake news” being thrown around, it isn’t often journalists receive a kind word.

One Sioux Falls woman reached out to our newsroom with a compliment, and in the process, told us about her mission to spread kindness.

MaryAnn Hallberg spends a lot of time on the phone, and the conversations usually sound something like this.

“I do commend you for that and compliment you and wish you the best luck in the world,” Hallberg said. 

Hallberg is on a mission to make everyone feel important.  It started by calling up journalists to tell them what a good job they did on stories. 

It’s since grown to just about anyone she sees on TV or reads about who she thinks needs some encouragement.

“It’s just a positive approach to things, I guess. I think the world is in such turmoil now that we need all this positiveness we can get,” Hallberg said. 

This crusade to spread cheer didn’t start in a very happy place. Hallberg’s husband and mother both passed away in 2009. Just a few years ago, she lost her son to suicide. Through it all, she continues to make others feel valued.

“I go one day at a time. The therapy of thinking of others and working with others, people let me talk. They listen. That’s a gift if people listen,” Hallberg said. 

Hallberg has reached out to local do-gooders, reporters all over the country, and even some U.S. politicians.

“Some of my grandkids in D.C. say, they call me a player. Whatever that means,” Hallberg said.  

She isn’t doing any of this to get attention, but genuinely loves life and hopes others find the key to the happiness she’s been enjoying for 88 years.

“Be yourself, and let go and let God really says it all. It has really done it for me,” Hallberg said. 

Hallberg says as long as she can still see and hear, she’ll keep working to make others feel appreciated.

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