"Hearing what my son did for a complete stranger just one day before he tragically died has been such a gift," the man's mother said
Jamie Lynne-Knighten is on a mission to pay it forward to honor a good Samaritan who was killed 24 hours after picking up her $200 grocery bill.
On November 10, Knighten had a crying 5-month old baby in her arms, a cart full of groceries and a line forming behind her at an Oceanside, California, Trader Joe’s checkout counter when she realized she had left her debit card at home.
The mother of two attempted to pay her more than $200 tab with her credit card that declined repeatedly due to anti-fraud lock. As she was attempting to reach her credit card company get the lock lifted, a young man in line behind her offered to help.
The gentleman behind me quietly says ‘May I?’ ” she recalled in a Facebook post about the encounter. “I’m overwhelmed and didn’t think I heard him correctly so he repeats ‘May I? May I take care of your groceries?’ ”
When she refused, the man, 28-year-old Matthew Jackson, asked 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..’ and I came to realize how much it would mean to him if I humbly accepted,” she continued.
Now crying, Knighten asked the young man for his name and where he worked, hoping to find a way to acknowledge or repay his good deed later.
Unable to stop thinking about the kind stranger, Knighten called Jackson’s boss at LA Fitness more than a week later to share his kindness and ask about sending a gift.
“That’s when [the manager] started crying,” Knighten told NBC San Diego.
The manager then explained that Jackson had been killed in a car accident less than 24 hours after the chance encounter at Trader Joe’s, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“I still cannot believe it,” Knighten wrote on Facebook. “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. 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.”
After an outpouring of support for the Facebook post, Knighten started a project called “Matthew’s Legacy” asking others to ‘pay it forward’ as a tribute to the kind-hearted young man.
Jackson’s mother, LeeAnn Krymow, said that this good deed was nothing out of the ordinary for her son, adding that she’s glad his kindness will continue to live on.
“Hearing what my son did for a complete stranger just one day before he tragically died has been such a gift,” she wrote on Facebook. “He touched so many and it’s amazing that he continues to touch people even after he has left this world. I will miss him terribly … the pain is beyond words. But I know that his legacy will live on.”