Meet (and Remember) Matthew Jackson

la-cah-stranger-kindness-jpg-20151127 We often spend so much time on this blog detailing the crimes and abuses by truly horrible people. It often leaves one depressed and pessimistic about humanity and the direction that it is now going. Then someone like Matthew Jackson comes along and we remember that the essence of being human is found in simple acts of kindness. In Matthew’s case, it proved to be one of the last things that he did on this Earth.

Jamie-Lynne Knighten was a mother juggling a 5-month old child, groceries, and a hectic schedule at a Trader Joe’s in California when she realized that she did no have her debit card. A long line was behind her as she struggled to produce a credit card . . . only to have the credit card declined due to an anti-fraud lock. That is when a stranger walked up and gave the person at the register his own credit card. Knighten tried to refuse but the man insisted and said that she could do a good deed for some other stranger. Knighted was overwhelmed and asked the man his name. He said it was Matthew Jackson and that he was a fitness instructor at LA Fitness. That does not pay particularly well so this act of kindness was not a trivial gesture.

Later, Knighten wanted to contact Jackson’s boss at LA Fitness to arrange to give him another thanks and a gift. When she explained the reason, the manager began to cry. Jackson had been killed in a senseless car accident less than 24 hours after their encounter. His Ford Fiesta struck a tree along a shopping complex. Filled with grief, Knighten told the story of Matthew Jackson on Facebook.

The comments of thousands of people has given solace to Jackson’s mother, LeeAnn Krymow, who said that her son was well-known for such spontaneous acts of kindness to strangers. “He loved to be kind,” she said. That is quite an epitaph for anyone.

There is also an extraordinary postscript noted by the Los Angeles Times: “Jackson’s sister and brother-in-law, who is a youth pastor, drove to Carlsbad from their home in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert to attend the memorial service. Along the way, they stopped with their four young kids for a meal in Yuma. When they went to pay the bill, they got a surprise: Someone had already paid for them.”

There are so few people it seems who “love to be kind” in this world. However, they are out there. The Matthew Jacksons remind us that to be truly human is to be kind.

23 thoughts on “Meet (and Remember) Matthew Jackson”

  1. All hail matthew jackson

    And mostly all the people this blog hates politically, they are probably heroes (Millenials Love Che!) Sorry Turley!

    Blacks Lives Matter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We know you don’t think so…. but Black Lives Matter!!!!

  2. Memo to you: You are NO matthew jackson. He appeared to be much more of an honest, kind gentleman than yourself.

    You attempt to justify slayings of humans with your “legit” position in academics and society.

    You (and your class of intellectuals) go a long way in ratcheting up the pessimism…..

  3. What a moving story. We need more like him. It’s especially tragic when the world loses someone kind.

  4. “Pay it forward” A good philosophy. It need not be economic but should be conventional practice.

    1. stevegroen – I don’t do bong hits and I could care less about my relative importance in the universe.

  5. A sad story with a hopeful lining. I will not ramble; crazy posts (today).

    Nick, I think you are thinking along the right lines. You should read that psychology book I mentioned in my last rambling crazy post.

    I am one of these random-do-gooders. It feels really good. I do always tell my family about it, though. I argue that I help people out of greed, and selfishness. Why? Because it makes ME feel good. That’s a feeling I crave, and nothing feeds it so much as to be unexpectedly kind to another. Another commentator mentioned about my quip about God not letting someone miss heaven. I thank you for your prayers! I’m gonna need them. (As I like to say to my more religious clients)

    Our more evil aspects of humanity always exist, yet I believe with proper guidance they can be channeled to more useful industry.

  6. True altruism doesn’t ask for recognition, so on that note I must brag about one such act of my own. I used to carry a $100 bill in my wallet in order to feel less poor. In other words, “I could buy that but I choose not to!” So one day upon leaving a shopping center a man was standing on the corner with a sign…you get the picture. So I thought about that $100 bill and thought, “Why not make his day?” So I whipped it out, handed it to him, and watched his expression through the rear view mirror. Priceless!

  7. Well I used to think that all conservatives were narcissistic cowards who took themselves too seriously.
    But it turns out some of them actually do have a sense of Yuma.

  8. A very poignant story for Giving Tuesday. Giving doesn’t need to be this dramatic, although as TinEar points out, sometimes something like this unlocks the conscience of those who witness it. I prefer to give material and time when donating to organizations rather than money. I find it more satisfying to donate my excess produce from my garden to the local food bank or donating a day to help build houses or participate in cleanup projects. If you are going to donate money, please try to give directly to the organization who will be using it rather than through consolidating organizations like the United Way. This eliminates the administration cut (last I knew was 17% for United Way) that the consolidating organization takes for themselves before distributing those funds to other organizations. Also, organizations like United Way distribute funds to organizations that I do not want to fund, such as the Boy Scouts for their bigotted practices, and they do not fund organizations that I do want to fund, like the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

  9. One of the philosophical questions I have is why more people don’t commit random acts of kindness. For me, it is not all altruistic. I don’t make a big deal about it. And, my old man taught me that if you do a kindness and feel compelled to tell everyone, then you did it for the wrong reason. But, just the simple good feeling one gets, almost like endorphins, makes me wonder if some people don’t get that positive internal feedback. Or is it they simply have not come outside themselves and been generous? The simple fact that JT puts posts up like this tells me he is generous.

  10. There was an Amish (or similar) checking out in front of me. The mother of (at least) 3 was having the clerk remove some items. I saw the children’s eyes dim as the makings for Christmas cookies disappeared. I bought her those items. I did it for selfish reasons — it made me feel grand.

  11. I was in line at a store in Kentucky where a young woman with a baby and a toddler was trying to buy diapers and a gallon of milk. The family looked poor and ragged. She didn’t have enough money and was trying to decide which item to put back. A police officer who was there buying a soda stepped out of line and insisted on buying the milk and diapers for her. At that point the others in the line all wanted to pitch in to repay the cop but he refused to accept their money. It was interesting that nobody thought to help the family until the cop stepped forward, then everyone wanted to help. It was as though his actions unlocked their consciences.

    1. neighbordave – I have driven that trip usually every other year since 1963. I am very familiar with where you stop and why.

  12. I remember it being a stretch to take my family out for a meal at MacDonalds…not sure if that addressed the fine point, Paul…except to say that I am sure it was much appreciated, and a fine act to do. Especially heartbreaking and synchronistic when you remember their destination.

    1. Jane – I went to a funeral last week were I did not believe half the stories I heard about the deceased, although there was a large attendance. Some people are fabulists.

  13. Not to put too fine a point on it but you stop in Yuma to fill your tank. There is a difference of at least 10 cents a gallon. There is a very large McDonald’s there as well.

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