His Bank Card was Declined. A Stranger Stepped up, and Now They’re ‘Friends for Life.’

Jason James Boudreaux
Jason James Boudreaux, left, with Kevin Jones at a grocery store in St. Martinville, La., on Feb. 24, 2023. Jones paid for Boudreaux’s $30 grocery bill when his bank card was denied.

Jason James Boudreaux was at the grocery checkout counter to buy seafood and drinks for a family dinner when the cashier told him that his bank card had been rejected for insufficient funds.

Boudreaux had deposited his Friday paycheck on the way to a grocery store in St. Martinville, La. – about 16 miles from Lafayette – and realized that the funds hadn’t yet posted to his account, he said. The total for his seafood and spirits was just over $30.

He thought he might have to return to the store later that day, Feb. 24, he said. But then the stranger he’d been talking to in the checkout line spoke up:

“I got you,” said Kevin Jones, 28.

“I told him, ‘Hey, what are you talking about? I can’t let you do that – that’s too much,” Boudreaux recalled. “But he insisted, and kept saying, ‘I got you.’ When I told him I would pay him back, he said, ‘No, you don’t have to.'”

Boudreaux, 46, said he was so touched by Jones’s kindness that he asked him to pose with him for a selfie on the spot in the grocery store.

“I thought, ‘I need him to be recognized. Here’s this young fellow helping an old cowboy,'” he said.

When he returned to his home, in nearby Catahoula, La., he posted the photo on his Facebook page to thank Jones for his random act of kindness. He asked if anyone recognized Jones because he wanted to reach out to him.

One of Boudreaux’s friends recognized Jones, who lives a few towns over from where Boudreaux lives, and passed along Jones’s phone number.

Boudreaux said he decided to invite Jones to join him and about 30 others for an afternoon meal at his place later that weekend.

“We call it ‘Family Day,'” he said. “We cook up some shrimp, some crawfish, some fried catfish, and invite a bunch of friends and cousins, people of all creeds and colors. Everyone is welcome.”

Jones agreed to come, and he and his wife, Marissa, lined up a relative to babysit for their three young daughters.

On Feb. 26, when they arrived for the buffet, Boudreaux said, Marissa Jones quietly mentioned to Boudreaux’s wife, Erica Boudreaux, that it was Kevin Jones’s 28th birthday.

“It turned out we had a lot to celebrate,” Jason James Boudreaux said. “We decided to put something together in a rush.”

Boudreaux grabbed a jelly doughnut from the kitchen and put a candle on top. When it was presented to Jones, everyone gathered around to sing “Happy Birthday,” he said.

“Everything aligned for Kevin to be there at that moment,” Boudreaux said. “We became instant friends.”

Jones said he was happy to spend his birthday with the man he’d helped out in the grocery store. Local media picked up on the story, spreading it beyond social media.

“Jason is a kindred spirit – you aren’t going to find many people like him,” he said. “It was like destiny that I was standing behind him that day.”

Jones drives a concrete truck for a living and said he had stopped at the store to pick up some salt and ice for a crawfish boil he was planning for dinner.

When he saw that Boudreaux’s bank card had been declined, he said he didn’t think twice about stepping up.

“It can happen to anyone, and honestly, I’ve been in this situation before,” Jones said. “I’ve had my card declined and had to return groceries. I didn’t want him to have to go through that.”

Jones said he has always tried to look out for anyone in need.

“My mom taught me that,” he said. “My attitude is, ‘If I’ve got it, you’ve got it.’ I’m happy to help.”

Boudreaux is a former detective and patrol sergeant who now works for a funeral home as a sales and operations manager. When he worked in law enforcement, he often saw the worst side of people, he said, so he was surprised and delighted to experience kindness from a stranger.

“It’s about doing the right thing, and Kevin did just that,” he said. “When he said, ‘I got you,’ I felt embarrassed and blessed at the same time. He’s an incredible young gentleman.”

When Jones showed up with his wife at the party, the two men talked and joked over fried catfish like they were old friends, Boudreaux said.

He felt that the Joneses were up for his brand of Cajun humor, so he cut in while they were slow dancing – to dance with Kevin, not Marissa. A video of the men dancing together was posted on the internet by a local radio station.

“That was a little different, but I was fine with it,” said Jones. “Our wives couldn’t stop laughing at us. Jason is a much better dancer than me.”

One of the guests, Jason Daugereau, said everyone at the party was impressed by Jones.

“What he did showcases how good the hearts are of people in Louisiana,” said Daugereau, 40. “At a time when people are divided over a million things, he acted to help Jason out of kindness and love.”

Jones said he plans to grill some pork chops, chicken and ribs for Boudreaux and his friends soon, but he might skip the dance moves.

“I’m better at barbecuing,” he said. “My 28th birthday was the best one ever because I got to meet so many great people. It was a day I’ll never forget.”

As for Boudreaux, he gave Jones one of his cowboy hats and said he’s welcome at his place on Family Day or any day.

“We’re going to go fishing soon,” he said. “Kevin is my brother now. We’re friends for life.”