52 Guiding Lights- Episode 1: The Glass of Milk

Glass of milk debt

Hi there!

This is the first article in the series ’52 Guiding Lights’.  These articles represent a collection of (ethically) inspiring sayings and stories combined with a bit of an explanation or interpretation.  I came across the story of the glass of milk on the internet (where else, right?).   It goes like this:

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 to 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.”
He said, “Then I thank you from my heart.”
As Howard Kelly left that house, he felt not only physically stronger but also had a strong faith in God and man. 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 on he gave special attention to her case.
After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested that the business office 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 A. Kelly.
Tears of joy flooded her eyes.
I don’t know about you, but when I read this, even if it is not true but a parable of sorts, it makes me feel good.  It is always refreshing to have something jolt you to the realisation that not everyone in the world is bad and that there are some good, ethical, kind people around.

In the Hindu and Buddhist faiths, it is called karma.  A person is repaid for their actions at some later stage in their life.  Looking at this story from an ethical perspective, the lady showed ethical behaviour that was greatly appreciated by the small boy.  At a later stage in their lives, the boy repaid the debt through his own ethical actions.  Isn’t that also what ethics is about ‘doing the right thing, doping unto others as you would want them to do to you?’

Hope to see you back next time. Don’t miss out -stay subscribed.  I am also interested in your thoughts.   So, if you have an opinion, join the conversation and add your thoughts or any comments you have (especially if you have something nice to say!) on the social media links (Linked In or Facebook) under the article.


Till next time,



Source:  https://bit.ly/49LzT7z

©Copyright The Compliance Concierge April 2024

1 thought on “52 Guiding Lights- Episode 1: The Glass of Milk”

  1. Thank you for sharing, Calvin!
    We are so much in need of stories like this one. I hope and that human beings really understand that “doing the right” is the key of well-being and joy.

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Calvin London

Calvin London

Calvin runs a boutique consulting company. He is an established author of over 50 publications but started this site to explore the lighter side of life and all the curious things it has to offer. He is developing a career as a freelance writer.