A simple act of random kindness has inspired a Halifax man to encourage others to be kind to one another.
Paul LeBlanc runs an advertising firm. On his way into work one day he heard the story about Matthew Jackson. LeBlanc says it motivated him to pay it forward.
“This man who lived the life the way he did, and did so many nice things for so many people, affected people all around the world and not just hearsay, not just with a nice rant. I actually built a company out of it because I believe the world needs it,” LeBlanc tells Global News.
READ MORE: Man dies 24 hours after paying $200 grocery bill for stranger
In honour of Jackson’s memory, LeBlanc along with his business partner launched the Be Human Campaign, a clothing company that fashions t-shirts, hats, and sweatshirt with the slogan “behuman” to encourage people to engage in acts of kindness towards one another.
“It’s not always about spending money, hold the door and say please and thank you… send an unsolicited note to somebody you know is going through a hard time and just tell them you are thinking about them. The hope is that when people are wearing this brand they will feel some responsibility or obligation to it.”
Jackson just wanted to help others. Last year, Global News brought you Jackson’s story about how he helped an Ontario woman living in California by paying for her $200 grocery bill. He tragically died in a car accident one day later, and the brief encounter sparked a social media movement.
Jamie-Lynne Knighten says all he asked her to do in return was pay it forward.
It’s a request she has kept alive and strong to this day. Sadly, the same afternoon Knighten met Matthew he was killed in the accident. To honour his memory and to keep paying it forward, Knighten started a Facebook page called Matthew’s Legacy.
“There is a lot of negativity so to see just tiny little bits of positivity come through via his story and on the Facebook page it is just amazing,” Knighten says.
Since LeBlanc launched the Be Human Campaign, he, Knighten, and Jackson’s family have all connected. They carry the same purpose — to bring more good to the world the same way Jackson did.
“He loved to express his love for me and for his friends and let everybody know how much he loved me, and so he was special, he was very special. He was full of so much joy and I imagine him just laughing and just saying oh my gosh this is awesome, this is so awesome,” LeeAnn Krymow, Jackson’s mother, tells Global News.
Krymow says Jackson used to tell his friends who were going through hard times, “there is purpose in your pain, you are going to use this for good.” Krymow says since her son’s death she has received dozens of messages from people telling her how Jackson’s story has inspired them to help others, making the pain of his loss a little more bearable.
“People would tell me how they live life differently now, they see things differently, and they look opportunity, to express kindness… where they maybe would not have done that before.”
A portion of the proceeds from the Be Human Campaign clothing will go towards what is being referred to as a “random act of love” given to any one or organization who has paid it forward — keeping Matthew’s legacy alive and perhaps allowing people to focus more on the good.