One girl, 89 random acts of kindness: Teenager's amazing homage to late great-grandmother

March 6, 2013, 11:04 am Beth Greenfield

An Ohio teen, grieving over the February death of her 89-year-old great-grandmother, has begun an incredible quest in her memory: to perform 89 random acts of kindness for total strangers over the next 18 months.

One girl, 89 random acts of kindness: Teenager s amazing homage to late great-grandmother

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Manns is honoring Booth (inset) with good deeds. Photo courtesy of Samantha Manns.

"Some of her last words were, 'I don't want anybody to be upset.' And I was really upset for a few days," Samantha Manns, 18, told her hometown Ohio paper, the Chillicothe Gazette, which reported her story Monday. "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 back in February at a McDonald's drive-thru, where she paid the $5 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," Manns told Yahoo! Shine. "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: 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's also been inspiring 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 Manns' late great-grandmother, Virginia Booth, whom she called "Jinjey."

Related: Paying it forward, Jayden style: Random acts of kindness in honour of a little boy

"It's crazy how many people have asked me for the packets," Manns said.

Other plans in the works include filling a stranger's gas tank, and paying for someone's groceries. She's also set up suggestion box email for supporters to share ideas about her next moves and how they can help. In the meantime, Manns is updating her Facebook followers with new acts of kindness almost every day. "I baked a cake for a man who probably thought I forgot when his birthday is - but we'll see how it goes, and I'll log about it on here," she posted recently. (It went well.)

Doing good deeds would be a particularly appropriate memorial to Booth, she added, as the octogenarian was a kind and giving person. "She was like the Golden Rule put in motion," Manns said. "And she was a really big influence in my life."

That was especially true in recent years, when Manns spent time in and out of psychiatric hospitals after being diagnosed with an eating disorder, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety as a result of being bullied in high school.

"Anytime I was in the hospital she was always right there. I knew I could count on her," Manns said. "She came to the psychiatric hospital the last time I was there and told me I was looking good and doing fine and that I was going to make it. It was really nice to hear those words of encouragement."

Today Manns is living in Columbus, a freshman at the Vet Tech Institute 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 tactile to focus on," the student explained. And she works as an apprentice at a tattoo shop, where she'll soon be memorializing 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 Manns estimates will take a year and half to complete. "Next up is whatever comes my way," she said, adding that she thinks Booth would have been proud. "She would've wanted me to remember her in a good, kind way, surrounded by love and happiness."

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  1. Sean10:27am Sunday 10th November 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    are all peters in the world #$%$ or just the 2 that decided to post here. PETER BOTH OF YOU should take a page out of Samanthas book. Those 2 peters that posted must be very jealous that NO ONE loves them. All good when those 2 peters die no one will miss them.

  2. 08:50pm Thursday 07th March 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    good girl

  3. Wooly-bear02:57pm Thursday 07th March 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Top Marks, Samantha. Your Grandmother would be ever so proud of you.

  4. Lee10:12pm Wednesday 06th March 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    so very thrilled to hear what this young girl who has suffered pain emotional in her life an then loss of her gran yet instead of slipping back wards she has used this to a positive an make a difference to someone else be great to think one day we could turn the world around doing this everyone participating world wide

  5. Louisa09:53pm Wednesday 06th March 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    If you do something wonderful, anonymously or with a world wide fan fare its still wonderful !!!

  6. Louisa09:50pm Wednesday 06th March 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    I loved my Grandmother so much I named two of my daughters after her. Pass it on, love makes the world go round!

  7. Peter09:27pm Wednesday 06th March 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Peter is actually right, all you people who have attacked him. You are all so sucked in by this wonderful touchy feely stuff. The reality is that real philanthropy and goodwill is done anonymously. Grow up.

  8. ERNEST08:26pm Wednesday 06th March 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Lovely grandchild, we need more like her in this world,you can never have too much kindness,pity some people always have to get nasty, they must have such miserable lives to be so negative !!

  9. James05:37pm Wednesday 06th March 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    What a lovely Grandaughter ! Void you could learn from this young lady !

  10. Hombre05:15pm Wednesday 06th March 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Peter. Her '10 minutes' would be worth your useless wasted lifetime.