Kindness Is a Language
from The Best Things in Life Aren't Things
by Peggy Anderson
When Aldous Huxley, the great English writer and pioneer in the study of techniques to develop human potential, was asked about the most effective technique for transforming a person's life, he simply replied, "It's a little embarrassing that after years and years of research, my best answer is—just be a little kinder."
That's the paradox of kindness. It doesn't feel powerful at all. In fact, it almost feels too simple to be important. But, as Huxley said, it is the #1 thing that can transform your life...and the lives of those around you. This story brings the power of kindness to life better than any I've heard:
Paid in Full
One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door-to-door to pay his way through school, found he had only a 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 and so she brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it 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 kindness." He said, "Then I thank you from my heart." As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strengthened also. He had been ready to give up and quit.
Years 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, he 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 the case.
After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final billing 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..."
Signed, Dr. Howard Kelly
Dr. Howard Kelly was a distinguished physician who, in 1985, founded the John Hopkins Division of Gynecology Oncology at John Hopkins University. According to Dr. Kelly's biographer, Audrey Davis, the doctor was on a walking trip through Northern Pennsylvania one spring day when he stopped by a farm house for a drink of water.