“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
– Leo Buscaglia
This is a true story of a boy named Howard Kelly. He was born unprivileged hence, he sells goods from one house to another just to earn a living and pay his education. One day he felt so hungry and decided to ask for something to eat at the next house he is set to visit. However, he lost his guts to ask for a meal when a beautiful young woman opened the door for him.
Instead of asking for a meal, he just asked for one glass of water. But the young lady noticed that he looked hungry. So instead of water she brought him one large glass of milk. He slowly drank the milk and asked “How much do I need to pay”? The lady replied, “You don’t have to pay me anything as mother taught us to never take any pay for kindness”.
He thanked her with all his heart and walked away. However, that little act of kindness made a mark on his heart and made him feel stronger and better. He was ready to give up in his life before that happened but because someone had showed him kindness in a rather unexpected event, he regained his trust in God and man. Then he grew up and became a successful doctor.
Years had pass and the young woman became seriously ill. The local doctors were kind of baffled of her case so they sent her to the hospital in the big city. A specialist is needed to study her rare illness so they consulted Dr. Howard Kelly. He is a renowned Gynecologist who founded the Gynecologic Oncology division at Johns Hopkins University.
When Dr. Kelly heard the name of the town where the patient came from, an inexplicable light filled his eyes. He immediately went to see the patient and recognized her at one glance. Determined to save her, he went back to the consultation room and did his best to save the life of a woman who once made a difference in his life. After a long battle, he finally won.
Dr. Kelly requested the hospital accounts to forward the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it and without any hesitation wrote something on the bill and had it sent to the woman’s room. The woman got the bill and was afraid to open it for she was so sure that the cost is high and would probably take all her life to pay for it. But when she finally opened it, something caught her eye. At the corner of the bill were words she hardly believe her eyes. It was written: “Paid in full with one glass of milk”.
“The Hospital Window”
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to receive his daily medical treatment. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, and where they had been on vacation.
Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by the description of activity and color of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a beautiful lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers held hands and walked amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man described his view from the window in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing through the park. Although the other man could not hear the band, he could see the parade in his mind’s eye, as the gentleman by the window developed a detailed picture with his descriptive words.
One morning, the nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.
As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. To his surprise the window faced a brick wall.
The man called for the nurse and asked what could have compelled his deceased roommate to describe such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”
There is tremendous joy in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money cannot buy. Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present.
How much does a kind word, a thoughtful action, a considerate attitude and an empathetic outlook cost? Honestly – are you going to have to pay heavily for using any of these in your day-to-day lives? Of course not! The use of these admirable virtues costs nothing and by bringing joy into other people’s lives, it also brings the warmth of goodness into one’s own life. We feel happier when we see that we have managed to make another happy. The joy of kindness brings goodwill, benevolence and a sense of brotherhood not only into the lives of the people that it touches, but into our own lives too.
Even if the opposite party has shown you their thoughtlessness and callousness, still, you ought to go out of your way to be kind and sincere to such people – it may surprise you to know that such inconsiderate people need it the most.
The only obstacle to the use of kindness is False Pride and Ego Struggles. Many people tend to think – “Why should I? It’s not up to me. Let someone else do the good deed!” Yet, we all know that things need not be that way.
Kindness and Empathy cost nothing at all – use them more often and use them in plenty and see how this benevolent attitude enriches your own life, besides the lives of the people that it touches.