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.