Paid In Full With 1 Glass of Milk

The year was 1863 and one day, a poor boy by the name of Howard Kelly was selling goods door to door to pay his way through school. After a full day of working hard he figured he had only a little bit of change left, but too little to get some food.

Like many days before he had been hungry for the most part of the day. He hoped to make at least some sales to get enough money for food and to put some money on the side for his tuition next year. After going through some scenarios in his mind he was hoping for some kindness from the people living in the next house where he decided to ask for a meal.

As he approached the door and rang the bell he was determined to not only ask for food but to make a sale at the end.

However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. So instead of a meal, he asked for a glass of water. The woman remembered seeing this young boy many times working hard going up and down the streets knocking on doors. Almost everyone in the neighbourhood knew his story and that many times instead of selling to people he helped them with their chores.

She thought he looked hungry so she brought him a large glass of milk instead of water. The boy drank it slowly and then asked how much he owes.

“You don’t owe me anything,” she replied. “I know you helped many people in our neighbourhood. Mother has taught us that kindness is repaid with kindness.”

You could see a bit of relief and happiness as he replied, “Then I thank you from my heart.” Right there and then Howard felt stronger and more confident as he found some hope in the kind actions of the young woman. He continued on with his work feeling recharged by a mear smile, some words and a full glass of milk.

Year’s later, that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.

Dressed in his doctor’s gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once and remembered the kindness she showed him that day and how much that helped him. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case. After a long struggle, the battle was won.

Dr. Howard requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room.

She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally, she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She began to read the following words, “PAID IN FULL WITH ONE GLASS OF MILK. SIGNED, DR. Howard Kelly.”

What can we do for someone today? We do not need to accomplish great things but within our means to be kind to someone. Many of us are reluctant to step out of our homes for fear of contracting COVID-19, especially senior folks who had been urged to stay home. We also know that it is closer to home these days. In the past weeks, I come to know of 3 families who were put on home quarantine orders. I will try bring some cheers by sharing some humour or lend a listening ear to hear their fear and if possible, encourage the person to stay positive and look forward to better days ahead. We may not be like Dr. Howard Kelly who could repay the kindness of the young lady years later but we certainly can do a little more to brighten someone’s day in time of need.

If you can, try to encourage someone or offer to help in any way you can to counter the fear.

A little kindness goes a long way.

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