Little acts of kindness can make a big impact.
For instance, when a video of actor Keanu Reeves giving up his seat on the subway was posted online, the internet certainly took notice.
He received a gigantic outpour of praise for his tiny good deed. And, of course, plenty of ordinary folks are doing nice things on a daily basis, like this man who went door-to-door in a cancer treatment center playing his cello for people in recovery.
Samantha “Sam” Bieno, a 22-year-old from Portage, WI, who died on April 9 from leukemia just days before her 23rd birthday, embodied the word “kind.”
“She had on her phone a quote from the Dalai Lama, ‘Be kind whenever possible.
It is always possible.’ That’s how she lived,” Jennifer Bieno, Sam’s mother, told WiscNews.
In fact, one of Sam’s final wishes was for people to perform random acts of kindness on the day of her 23rd birthday, April 15. She asked her friends and family to wear orange (the color for leukemia awareness) and to perform acts of kindness to others, and in turn asking them to pay it forward.
Sam wanted to make sure good things were happening to other people on her birthday.
Please read on to see how Sam’s amazing spirit of generosity has inspired others, and if it inspires you, too, then perform a random act of kindness on Sam’s behalf.
Here at LittleThings, we like to know that the legacy of beautiful people like Sam shines on. Please SHARE this amazing young woman’s story!
This is Sam Bieno in her senior portrait. A few weeks before her 23rd birthday, she spoke with her dad about how she wanted to celebrate the birthday if she didn't make it.
“She had on her bucket-list to go out on her birthday and do good deeds. On Wednesday, we were talking about it and she said she wanted everyone to do good deeds and that would be the most perfect thing,” said Dave Bieno, her father. His arms are wrapped around Sam's mother in the photo below. “Sam never worried about her pain, she never let on that she was in pain because she always worried about everyone else, making sure they were comfortable.”
But on what would have been her 23rd birthday, everything was about Sam. Her family released 23 orange balloons in front of Tivoli extended care facility, where she'd passed. About 100 community members showed up wearing orange in support of Sam and her family.
Sam wanted the word “Sammed” to define the act of doing good deeds on her birthday.
In order to fulfill her wish of people performing acts of kindness on her birthday, a friend of Sam’s made "You've been Sammed" slips for people to hand out. The idea was to do an act of kindness, give the recipient a slip that explained Sam’s wish, and then ask them to pay the good deed forward. Her family also created the hashtag #youvebeensammed, hoping that Sam’s good intentions would go viral.
Her brother and sister, Josh and Nicole, started things off. While fighting her illness, Sam was comforted by making Build-A-Bear stuffed animals, which she would then donate. In turn, the community filled her hospital room with 183 stuffed animals dressed in pajamas, Batman costumes, and Green Bay Packers uniforms. Her siblings donated them in Sam’s honor on her birthday. These were specifically for the prisoners in the Columbia County Correctional Facility. She even touched those behind bars.
The community also stepped in and honored Sam. For instance, the ice cream shop Portage Culver’s gave away Sam’s favorite flavor, cookie dough craving. Or, as the staff dubbed it, “Sam’s Flavor.”
The Corner Pocket in downtown Portage, one of Sam’s favorite spots, also gave away mini corn dogs — her favorite item — on the special day. The Corner Pocket was also where Sam took Neal Wendt, her stem cell donor from Texas, to thank him for his act of kindness.
Due to the hashtag #youhavebeensammed, people all over started doing acts of kindness as well and posted them online.
This group of teens gave out free hugs and oranges (orange, remember, is the color for leukemia awareness).
Two girls, Melissa and Rachael, served police…with donuts!
Another girl, Whitney, bought someone else's lunch at a McDonald's drive-thru.
One woman cleaned litter off the road, writing on Instagram “Fox Glen Road is free of winter debris. Beer and pop cans/bottles - gone!”
This young lady was bought a cup of coffee, so she “Sammed” someone back, writing on Instagram: “My coffee was paid for by a random act of kindness so I bought another for my best friend who couldn't sleep last night and took it to him at work to surprise him and help him thru his day.”
Someone anonymously left an envelope full of change taped to a vending machine.
Roses have never smelled so sweet.
Another one of Sam's last wishes was to also to appear on to the Ellen TV show. Yet, the idea of people doing kind acts was so overwhelming to her, that she was content with just that. “She told me that even if she didn’t make it to meet Ellen that she felt so loved,” said Blair Booth, a close friend, to WiscNews.
Yet, maybe if enough people “like” Sam’s Facebook page and continue to do acts of kindness under the #youvebeensammed hashtag, her story will appear on the show she loved.
The idea of her story ending up on Ellen due to support is definitely looking at the positive side of things, but in this one writer’s opinion, what better way is there to honor the memory of Sam?
You can like Sam’s Facebook page here, and you can do a random act of kindness and post it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the hashtag #youvebeenSammed if you want to support Sam’s cause. These acts of kindness will also be an annual event in her honor. Get ready for April 15, 2016 so that you can perform some acts of kindness in Sam’s name!
We send our condolences to Sam’s friends and family, and thank them sincerely for letting us share Sam’s story.
Please SHARE this incredible story with everyone you know and help this beautiful woman’s wish come true!