Matthew Jackson, 28, of Oceanside, California, paid the more than $200 grocery bill of a stranger, Jamie-Lynne Knighten.
When Knighten called Jackson at the LA Fitness where he worked, she was shocked to discover that he had died less than 24 hours after his good deed in the store.
Jamie-Lynne Knighten is the mother of a 5-month-old baby and a 2-year-old. On November 10, she went to a Trader Joe’s to do some grocery shopping.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, when Knighten got to the register her credit card was denied due to an anti-fraud lock. Her baby was now crying, and she realized that her debit card was at home.
That’s when a stranger behind her in line, Matthew Jackson, stepped in to pay for her entire bill. The only string attached? Jackson asked that Knighten pay it forward. “As long as you promise to do it for somebody else,” he told her, according to NBC 7.
Knighten agreed, and asked Jackson his name and where he worked.
Over a week later, Knighten called the gym where Jackson was a personal trainer. Angela Lavinder, one of Jackson’s managers answered. Knighten told her of the interaction, and Lavinder broke into tears.
“She said it was Matt and my heart just dropped because he had just passed away," Lavider said. "It broke my heart because – what a beautiful person.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that Lavinder explained to Knighten that Jackson had died within 24 hours of their Trader Joe’s meeting. Jackson and two other people had crashed into a tree while driving.
Jackson was killed, while the other two passengers were injured. They were both later released from the hospital.
Shocked and heartbroken by the news, Knighten took to Facebook to write a deep-felt remembrance of her brief encounter with Jackson.
In a postscript, Jackson’s sister and brother-in-law drove from their home outside Phoenix to Carlsbad for Matthew Jackson’s funeral. They and their four children stopped to eat in Yuma, Arizona. When they went to pay for the meal, a stranger had already covered their tab.