LIFE

Woman Pays It Forward For The Stranger Who Died Tragically After Helping Her

by Roxy Garrity
Roxy is a reporter and writer for LittleThings. Born in North Carolina, she graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Florida, and now lives in Manhattan. She's drawn to uplifting stories that inspire her audience, and she has interviewed a range of compelling public figures, such as President Obama and Taylor Swift. She loves live music, yoga, art, traveling, all animals, and meeting new people. Send her your story ideas or just say hi!

With a crying baby in tow, Jamie-Lynne Knighten reached into her purse to pay for groceries at Trader Joe’s in Oceanside, CA. She realized she’d left her debit card at home, and her credit card was frozen because of an anti-fraud lock.

Matthew Jackson, a 28-year-old fitness trainer waited patiently behind Knighten and watched as her phone died when she tried to call the bank.

Knighten told us, “The gentleman behind me quietly said, ‘May I take care of your groceries?’… I stuttered and said, ‘Oh, how sweet, but no thank you.'”

Jackson insisted and told her he’d gladly pay her $200+ grocery tab as long as she promised to do the good deed for someone else. Knighten realized that he really meant it, so she let him pay.

“Through my tears, I asked his name and where he worked before we parted ways,” said Knighten.

Days had passed when Knighten finally called his boss to tell him how kind Matthew had been. Knighten wrote in a Facebook post, “I hear crying on the other end… His boss informed me that this incredible human being was in a tragic car accident and passed away. Not even 24 hours after meeting him. Gone. Just like that. How? Why? I don’t understand.”

Matthew’s boss connected Knighten with Matthew’s mother, LeeAnn Johnson Krymow, who responded to her Facebook post: “Hearing what my son did for a complete stranger just one day before he tragically died has been such a gift. My precious boy loved people… I am completely devastated and broken, but I also have absolute hope that I will see him again.”

Knighten wanted “Matthew’s Legacy” to live on, and to help encourage others to pay it forward, she’s created a Facebook and Twitter account in his honor. And it seems to be working; as Matthew’s sister, brother-in-law, and their four young kids were on their way to Matthew’s memorial, they stopped to get something to eat and as they tried to pay, they were told that it had already been paid for.

Knighten told LittleThings.com she’s already heard many amazing stories of people paying it forward in Matthew’s name. “Matthew’s best friend told me she was helping the women in front of her at the grocery store bag her groceries and went to pay for them, too, in Matthew’s honor, but the clerk said, ‘An angel paid for these groceries.’ It turned out the man behind her read about Matthew’s story and wanted to pay it forward. She then bursted out in tears and told him that Matthew was her best friend.”

What will you do to pay it forward? Please SHARE this story to help #matthewslegacy continue!