This story was submitted by Beth Greenfield, Senior editor for Yahoo Lifestyle. She tells about an Ohio teenager named Samantha Manus, who was grieving over the death of her 89-year-old great-grandmother, and how she began an incredible quest in her memory: to perform 89 random acts of kindness for total strangers over the next 18 months.

Some of her great-grandmother’s last words were, “I don’t want anybody to be upset.” But Samantha was really upset for a few days. She told her hometown Ohio paper, the Chillicothe Gazette, which reported her story. “Then I thought, maybe I can’t be happy right now, but I can do things to make other people happy.”

She launched her plan while at a McDonald’s drive-thru, where she paid the $15 bill of the customer behind her. It was simple, really, and made a total stranger’s day. The customer, she said, cried tears of joy. “I saw it in my rear-view mirror,” Samantha told Yahoo! “It made me feel pretty good.” She repeated that deed a few days later, which immediately started a chain of several other customers paying for the folks behind them.

Other random acts followed: donating items to the Humane Society, hanging out with orphaned puppies there and “being a happy presence,” and baking a birthday cake for a friend. She inspired others to follow her lead on her Facebook page, 89 Acts of Kindness, by offering packets with good-deed suggestions, plus a photo and bio of her late great-grandmother, Virginia Booth, whom she called “Jinjey.”

Doing good deeds would be a particularly appropriate memorial to Jinjey Booth, she added, as the octogenarian was a kind and giving person. “She was like the Golden Rule put in motion,” Always doing for others what she would like for them to do to her. Samantha said. “And she was a really big influence in my life.”

Samantha went on to become a freshman at the Vet Tech Institute in California with the aim to become an animal cruelty investigator. She lives with a psychiatric service dog, a Great Dane-pit bull mix that “recognizes panic attacks and gives me something tangible to focus on,” she explained. And she works as an apprentice at a tattoo shop, where she’ll soon be memorializing Jinjey Booth in another way: with an old-style portrait of her on her left arm.

For now, though, she’ll be continuing her goal of acting impulsively to make others feel good – something she estimates will take a year and a half to complete. “Next up is whatever comes my way,” she said, adding that she thinks “Jinjey Booth would be proud. “She would’ve wanted me to remember her in a good, kind way, surrounded by love and happiness.”

Here’s another way to look at the Golden Rule – Jesus called it “The Rule of Living.” And the Apostle Paul called it the “Law of Christ,”[1] which is the Law of Love. He tells us: “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the Law of Christ.”[2] We may not choose to do the same thing that Samantha did to exercise this Christian spiritual right, there are so many other options to select from. The main thing is that we be what God wants us to be, letting our light shine, being the salt of the earth, and being a blessing to everyone we meet. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

[1]1 Corinthians 9:21

[2] Galatians 6:2

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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