A north San Diego woman is on a mission to honor the legacy of a man she barely knows - all because he did something nice for her.
On Nov. 10, Carlsbad resident Jamie-Lynne Knighten met Matthew Jackson for about five minutes at the Trader Joe's on Vista Way. Her 5-month-old son was fussy, and she was trying to shop for food for the week.
With a crying baby in her arms, groceries ready to go and a mounting line behind her, Knighten said her credit card was declined at the cash register due to an anti-fraud block. She had just returned from traveling abroad.
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"[My baby] just wasn't having it. By the time we got to the check-out, I was done," she recounted.
Then, in a random act of kindness, Knighten says Jackson offered to pay for her groceries, which came out to more than $200.
Knighten says the 28-year-old man from Oceanside stepped in saying, "May I? May I take care of your groceries?"
Jackson wanted one thing in return, according to Knighten.
She said he asked, "As long as you promise to do it for somebody else."
Days passed and Knighten couldn't stop thinking about the young man and his good deed.
He mentioned he worked at the LA Fitness gym on Vista Way, so she called and told manager Angela Lavinder what an amazing person she had on staff.
That's when Knighten learned some heartbreaking news: Jackson had been killed in a car accident less than 24 hours after his good deed towards her at the grocery store.
"That's when [the manager] started crying," Knighten said.
Lavinder, on the other end of that call, was forced to break the tragic news to Knighten.
"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," Lavinder told NBC 7.
According to a report released by the San Diego County Medical Examiner's office, Jackson was killed in a crash on Nov. 11.
He was with two others when the vehicle veered off the road in the 2100 block of Vista Way in Oceanside. The car struck a tree, killing Jackson. The two other people in the vehicle survived.
Knighten says she's a person of faith and, therefore, has faith her "pay it forward" angel didn't die in vain. She's still coping with what happened but believes people should hear his story and be encouraged to live life like he did.
Knighten says efforts are underway to further honor the young man's legacy, and they include encouraging others to pay it forward.