“An act of goodness is of itself an act of happiness. No reward coming after the event can compare with the sweet reward that went with it.”
– Maurice Maeterlinck
Have you ever done something nice for a stranger, just because you could, and then you felt good and happy all day because of it? I had that experience today. It reminded of a story I once read about an act of kindness from Dr. Howard Atwood Kelly, who was one of the “Big Four” founding professors at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. After a bit of research, I found out the story that has circulated as an inspirational tale since 2000 has been heavily embellished and altered to make for a more touching tale.
Even though some of the facts have been modified, it’s a great example of the law of attraction – you attract into your experience what you send out, so the more good you do, the more good you will attract. If you are interested in learning the actual facts of the story I’m sharing today, you can find them here.
In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful tale:
One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so she brought him a large glass of milk.
He drank it so slowly, and then asked, “how much do I owe you?”
“You don’t owe me anything” she replied. “Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.”
“Then I thank you from my heart” he said.
As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.
Many years later that same 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. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to her case.
After a long struggle, the battle was won.
Dr. Kelly 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 read these words:
Paid in full with one glass of milk.
– Dr. Howard Kelly
Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: “Thank You God, that Your love has spread broad through human hearts and hands.”
There’s a saying which goes something like this: “Bread cast over water comes back to you.” The good deed you do today may benefit you or someone you love at the least expected time. Even if you never see the deed again, at least you will have made the world a better place. And, after all, isn’t that what life is all about?
Although many of the facts are inaccurate, Dr. Kelly did in fact write off the bill, but the truth is, he did so with three of every four patients he treated. The truth is even better than the tale – it feels good to do good!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!