Matthew Jackson was known among his family and friends as a kind-hearted young man who loved to help others. Jamie-Lynne Knighten only met Jackson once, but their brief encounter has left a lasting impression on her life.
On November 10, Jamie-Lynne was checking out at a local Trader Joe’s grocery store when she realized she had accidentally left her debit card at home. After repeatedly trying to use her credit card, which had an anti-fraud hold on it because they were traveling, Knighten asked the cashier if they could hold her purchase while she returned home to retrieve her debit card. However, before the cashier could answer her question, Matthew Jackson came forward and asked Jamie-Lynne if he could pay for her items.
“I am about to ask the young girls at the cash if they can hold my purchase for me so I can go home and get my other card when the gentleman behind me quietly says ‘May I?'” Knighten wrote in a Facebook post, recalling the incident. “I’m overwhelmed and didn’t think I heard him correctly so he repeats ‘May I? May I take care of your groceries?’ I stutter and say ‘Oh, thank you.. How sweet, but no thank you, you don’t have to do that.’ So he calmly repeats himself again. This time I look at him and he says ‘I would be glad to take care of your groceries as long as you promise to do it for someone else.'”
Good Samaritan Dies Tragically After Amazing Last Gesture: Matthew Jackson died way too soon at the age of 28…. https://t.co/Kt6NJenMDR
— WOMI Owensboro (@1490WOMI) December 2, 2015
“I came to realize how much it would mean to him if I humbly accepted,” she continued. “So I did. And this complete stranger paid over $200 for my groceries. Thanking him endlessly through my tears I ask his name and where he works before parting ways.”
It took Knighten several days, due to her hectic week traveling, but she eventually called the LA Fitness where Matthew Jackson, 28, worked to tell his boss about his act of kindness and see if she could possibly bring him a gift. Jackson’s boss started crying on the other end of the phone, and informed Knighten that Matthew had been killed in a car wreck when his Ford Fiesta struck a tree along a shopping complex at the end of West Vista Way, not far from the Trader Joe’s where she first met him. The car crash had occurred not even 24 hours after their encounter.
“I still cannot believe it. I thought for sure I would get the chance to see him again, give him a hug and thank him at least once more in person,” Jamie-Lynne wrote. “Now I won’t get that chance, but more importantly no one else will get the chance to meet him. And that breaks my heart.”
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) December 2, 2015
“He was a year younger than me and engaged to be married,” she continued. “His boss explained to me how amazing this young man was in his every day life and that what he did for me was just who he was as a person.”
Jamie-Lynne started a Facebook page called “Matthew’s Legacy” to honor the young man whose life was taken far too soon. She hopes that by sharing her story, she will inspire others to pay it forward. Since creating the page, the response has been amazing, with people all over the world telling Knighten that they will be paying it forward.
“There has got to be some good to come of this,” Jackson’s mother LeeAnn Krymow told the Los Angeles Times. “He would be happy to know that other people are learning from his example.”
[Photo via Facebook/Matthew’s Legacy]