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Bismarck man spreads joy with a smile, friendly wave

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 1:32 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Sometimes, the smallest gesture or act of kindness can make the biggest impact. For Leo Friez, it’s as simple as waving to strangers.

Friez is quick to smile and even quicker to wave. Most evenings, you’ll find Friez here: waving to cars as they drive by. This has been his evening routine since his beloved wife, Dorothy, passed away.

“It was seven years on May 3,” recalled Friez.

They were married for more than 50 years.

“We were short one month and 13 days of 54 years,” said Friez, who proudly shows a photo of his wife and him.

Now Friez lives alone.

“I have lonely hours,” he admits.

But getting outside and waving helps ease the loneliness.

“It brings me as much joy as anything,” said Friez.

And it takes him back to his younger days on the farm.

“We took time to visit and we waved to each other.”

It took a while for his waves to catch on.

“At first it didn’t go so great,” he laughed. “Very few people responded.”

But now, Friez might just be the reason some people drive this section of north 19th street.

“Now I have guys who will stick their hands out their windows and blow their horns as they go by,” said Friez.

And that brings a smile to his face.

“I’m an old man,” said Friez.

He’s outlived all his relatives.

“That’s all in the Lord’s hands,” he said.

So, for as long as he can, Friez will use his hands to spread a little joy.

Friez also walks every day. He said most days, he tries to walk at least three miles. Friez will be 94 in November.

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