Man Pays It Forward and Dies 24 Hours Later

Jamie-Lynne Knighten is a San Diego woman who was having trouble paying her grocery bill while her 5-month-old baby boy was crying in her arms.

As the line grew behind her, her credit card was declined due to an anti-fraud block. It then became a struggle to get her credit card company on the phone at Trader Joe's.

Knighten told NBC 7 “[My baby] just wasn't having it. By the time we got to the check-out, I was done.” Then, Matthew Jackson offered to pay for the groceries. At first Knighten refused, but the 28-year-old insisted. Knighten could tell he was sincere.

So, she accepted, but Jackson told her she had to promise to one day do the same thing for someone else. Knighten told the LA Times “It just felt like this huge hug, this great big bear hug."

After Jackson's generosity, Knighten could not forget his kindness. She remembered he said he worked at a local LA Fitness Gym, she decided to call the manager to say what a good guy he was.

During the call, the manager, Angela Lavinder, started crying. Lavinder told Knighten that Jackson was killed in a car accident on Nov. 11--just 24 hours after his helpful deed.

Knighten said, “She said it was Matt and my heart just dropped because he had just passed away. It broke my heart because - what a beautiful person.” Jackson was with two others when the vehicle veered off the road and struck a tree. The two other people survived.

In a Facebook post, Jackson wrote, “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.”

Knighten says she will honor his legacy by continuing to pay it forward and encouraging others to do the same. In addition, Knighten has since started a Facebook and Twitter page to honor Jackson's legacy calling them "Matthew's Legacy."

Photo: ABC 7 News

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