Do you remember every act of kindness you have ever performed for another person? Probably not, but I can guarantee you that the recipient of your generosity has never forgotten what you did - something as simple as paying for someone’s meal, or donating to your local charity, or just having an encouraging word for someone who is struggling. Not life-altering for you, obviously, but these seemingly insignificant gestures carry the power to change the path of another person’s life, even if you never find out about it.
Our story begins as a young boy is caught red-handed, stealing medicine from a merchant. As he is being reprimanded, slapped, and admonished by the irate woman, another merchant overhears the interaction.
He intervenes and asks if his mother is sick. Ashamed, the boy simply nods in answer to the question.
To appease the theft-victim, the man takes out his own money to pay for what the boy had pilfered.
As if that weren’t enough, the man takes it one step further. He beckons to his young daughter, who is inside the restaurant that he owns, telling her to bring out some veggie soup.
Judging by the put-out look on the daughter’s face, seeing her father give free food to others is a common occurrence. Nevertheless, the dutiful daughter brings the soup outside, as her father had requested. Bagging the soup and medicine together, he hands it to the boy, who takes off running, presumably back home to his waiting mother.
Fast forward thirty years. The restaurant is still thriving; the daughter and father are still running the business together. Amid the hustle-and-bustle of the busy restaurant, the owner spots an obviously-destitute young man begging at the counter.
Without hesitation, the father asks his daughter for some veggie soup, bags it up, and gives it to the grateful supplicant.
Again, the daughter shows displeasure with her father’s actions, in spite of the look of satisfaction on her father’s face.
Everything is going along as usual until, out of the blue, the hard-working father suffers a medical emergency and falls to the floor; the frightened daughter rushes to his aid.
The next thing we see is the father lying helpless and unconscious in a hospital bed; a concerned physician is keeping watch while the daughter is on the phone, presumably with relatives. It is evident that the patient’s condition is grave.
On top of the emotional toll of having a seriously-ill parent, the daughter must also deal with the financial burden of the expensive treatment that her father needs in order to recover.
The family, being of modest means, has nowhere near enough money to cover the cost. Worry and fear overtake the daughter as she wonders how she will be able to provide for her father’s care.
When their doctor reiterates the seriousness of the father’s condition, the daughter realizes that she must take drastic measures. She sees no other option than to put the restaurant up for sale.
Exhausted from worry and the sleepless nights sitting vigil over her father, the daughter falls asleep at the foot of his bed. When she awakens, she finds some papers left for her.
As she looks over the documents, she is utterly bewildered by what she sees. Is she dreaming? How can this be?
The papers are copies of her bill, indicating that the balance due is 0. It must be a mistake; she hasn’t had a chance to sell the restaurant yet and there was no other money, not nearly enough to have paid this large amount.
Still befuddled, her eyes scan to the bottom of the page. There she finds a short note: "Paid in full 30 years ago, with 3 packs of painkillers and a bag of veggie soup. Best Regards, Dr. Prajak Arunthong.”
We go through life coming into contact with thousands of other human beings and, if you are like most people, you try to help out others when others whenever you can. Most of the time, there is very little gained by helping - certainly the momentary good feeling of having done a good deed - Beyond that, there is usually little tangible benefit.
This story demonstrates to all of us that our kind actions go farther than we could ever imagine. It is true that we don't always get to know the results of our deeds but let's not allow that to dissuade us from doing whatever we can whenever we can.
If you would like to watch the rest of Dr. Prajak Arunthong's beautiful story, click on the video, below.