Paid in Full

One day a poor boy that 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. Running low on both funds and hope, 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 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 a kindness.” He said, “Then I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

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.

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. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life, and gave special attention to the 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 and then wrote something on the edge before 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 cried when she read the following words:

“Paid in full with one glass of milk. With deepest thanks, Dr. Howard Kelly.”


Monday Morning Perspective

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

― John Holmes

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

― Maya Angelou


With the passing of Thanksgiving, we are creeping into the final season of the year with many things left to accomplish before the year’s end. I would encourage you to examine how you might be intentional in your efforts to raise up the people around you. There will never be a better time than the present.

The young boy in this story isn’t a fictitious character. The tale has been handed down for over eighty years, and while the details have varied over time, the essence of this man’s philosophy on kindness is maintained.

Dr. Howard Kelly (1858-1943) was a distinguished physician who was one of the four founding doctors of John Hopkins, the first medical research university in the U.S. and arguably one of the finest hospitals anywhere. Over course of his career, he advanced the sciences of gynecology and surgery, both as a teacher and as a practitioner.

He donated nearly 75% of his fees to people who couldn’t afford to pay him.

And he never went hungry.

Just a little “food” for thought.

Have a wonderful week!


Warmest Regards,

Crystal Dyer

© Crystal Dyer 2012. All rights reserved.

ISSN: 2158-1355


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