PHOENIX, AZ (KPNX) - Two weeks after 28-year-old Matthew Jackson, a Valley native, was killed in a car crash in San Diego, his mother got an unusual email from a complete stranger.
"She got contacted by this lady who met Matt at the grocery store," said Miguel de la Mora, Matt's brother in law.
De la Mora says the woman explained a chance encounter at a Trader Joe's in Oceanside, California.
Jamie-Lynne Knighten was in line, holding a fussy 5-month-old, when a fraud lock led to her card being declined.
A growing line behind her, she was shocked to see a stranger step in to help.
"I look up and he goes, 'May I may I take care of your groceries?'" said Knighten.
The stranger was Matt who offering to pay the more than $200 bill, along with one simple request.
Knighten says Matt said, "As long as you promise to do it for someone else."
De la Mora says news of the good deed definitely didn't surprise anyone who knew Matt.
"I wasn't shocked, I thought,'Yup that was Mat,t he would do something like that,'" he said.
While their meeting was only minutes long, the kindness Matt showed left a lasting impression on Knighten, who was determined to find him.
She eventually tracked Matt to the L.A. Fitness where he was a trainer.
That's when Matt's boss told her the tragic news that he'd made the gesture in his last 24 hours of life.
"It's definitely not a coincidence I don't think, I just think it's in God's plan," De la Mora said.
While nothing can take the pain away of losing Matt, his family hopes this act of kindness encourages others to pay it forward in his honor.
"It's a good reminder to kind of go, this is Matt's life, this is his legacy, this is how he lived," De la Mora said.
Knighten is now helping to spread Matt's pay it forward message all over California and here in Arizona.
Turning to their faith, Matt's family has no doubt this inspiring message was meant to be sent out right before the holidays.
View the original story on 12News.com: http://www.12news.com/story/news/local/valley/2015/11/25/valley-mans-tragic-death-encourages-stranger-help-pay-forward/76406476/