Jason Boudreaux was waiting to check out at his local grocery store when the cashier told him his debit card had insufficient funds. The kindness of a stranger in that moment, he says, changed his outlook on the world.
On Feb. 24, Boudreaux, a Breaux Bridge, Louisiana resident, shared a now-viral post on Facebook with the story of the kind act he experienced while out grabbing groceries from Cade’s Market in St. Martinville.
“Much respect for this young gentleman,” Boudreaux, 46, wrote in the post with a photo of him and a man named Kevin Jones. Boudreaux explained that he had deposited his payroll check an hour prior to the photo thinking his check would have cleared and the money would appear in his account.
He said he struck up a conversation with Jones while in line. Then, when he went to pay for his $30 worth of groceries, his card got declined.
“This lil gentleman said I got you," wrote Boudreaux. "I said no you don’t you probably didn’t hear the price. He responded yes Sir I did, and I got you.”
Boudreaux also said he intended to pay Jones back but in the ensuing excitement over the act of kindness, didn’t even get Jones’ name.
“I scrambled to me car to give him my business card, so I can repay him. He said no problem, but it is a problem to me owing money to anyone,” Boudreaux wrote. “But the point of this is the dude just stepped up for a complete stranger, he should be recognized.”
Thankfully, he found Jones pretty quickly. A mutual friend saw his Facebook post and connected them.
“I mean, I was a detective. I should have been with my pen and paper asking, ‘What’s your name? What’s your number?’” Boudreaux tells TODAY.com. “But I just had what you call goosebumps, but its ‘frissons’ in French.”
Boudreaux was a detective for 17 years and now works as a sales and operations manager for a company that works with churches, cemeteries and other locations with memorials. The father of three says that one of his best friends, who is a priest, foreshadowed the kindness he experienced right before it happened.
“He said, ‘Jason, did you find your ghost yet?’” Boudreaux says. “He was talking about the Holy Ghost — I always have interesting stories for him because I’m visiting church offices and cemeteries. And I said, ‘No, father, I’m actually off right now. I’m waiting to go grocery shop, that’s it. I need to pick up some seafood.”
Before they ended their chat, Boudreaux said his friend told him he still needed to find “his ghost.” “I said, ‘OK, if you insist, I will try,’” Boudreaux says.
Moments later, Boudreaux met Jones in the checkout line, and the pair shared some friendly banter. Then, when Jones saw what was happening in front of him, he knew he had to step in.
“Coming from where I come from in Louisiana, it’s not a very wealthy town. I know that feeling,” Jones, a truck driver, tells TODAY.com. “So not having the right amount of funds to pay for groceries, I know that feeling. I see a lot of people going through that, and not a lot of people are willing to make a sacrifice and step up and help the next person.”
Jones says, after he paid Boudreaux’s bill, he went on with his day, not expecting anything in return, not even telling his wife Marissa about the exchange — that is, until Boudreaux’s Facebook post, in addition to several calls and messages about the man wanting to return the favor, made its way to him. “Just a whole lot in one day,” he says with a laugh.
After getting in touch with him, Boudreaux invited Jones and his wife over for “Family Day,” a weekly event held by Boudreaux’s parents.
"We pick a person or they step up and say, 'OK, I’m gonna cook crawfish etouffee,' 'all right, I’m gonna barbecue next.' It’s an open invite to just about everybody," Boudreaux says. "I mean, people pass, we’re dancing outside, barbecuing or just cutting up, Louisiana-style."
While over at the house, word got out that it was Jones’ 28th birthday, so Boudreaux and the other attendees improvised a "cake" of sorts to commemorate the day.
“He had a jelly doughnut with icing on top and he put a candle in it,” Jones says with a giggle. “Nobody told me what they was going to do, but the ladies, including my wife, came out singing 'Happy Birthday.'"
These days, both Boudreaux and Jones say they keep in touch via text and have future plans for Family Days and weekend outings.
“He invites me to go to his fishing spot and every Sunday, he wants me to come over. The family wants to meet (my) kids and whatnot,” says Jones, who is also a father of three.
When asked how he would describe their friendship, Boudreaux says he actually has another word for it.
"I would describe it more as brothers," Boudreaux says. "He’s honestly one of the most sincere souls I’ve met — and I’ve met many."
"I live by a motto: 'If I got it, you got it,'" Jones added. "Doesn’t matter your color, doesn’t matter to me. We brothers and sisters from different people."