When Michael Esmond received his utility bill this month, he got the idea to “give a happier Christmas and take a little bit of stress out” of the season for his neighbors.
So Esmond reached out to the city of Gulf Breeze, where he lives, to ask about helping out everyone whose payment was overdue.
Going without something considered a necessity is something the Florida business owner knows only too well. Back in the 1980’s, Esmond struggled to make ends meet.
The season of giving is here. Michael Esmond paid off 36 families’ utility bills. He found out who was at risk of having their power turned off. He spent $4,600 making their holidays a little less stressful.
— Danielle Apolinar (@DanielleApoNews) December 17, 2019
During Christmas 1983, Esmond and his three daughters had to spend the festive season without heat and power because they couldn’t afford their pay their bills adding that that year the temperatures were especially at a record low.
When he received his gas and water bill earlier this month, Esmond was reminded of that very cold Christmas several decades ago. He noticed the due date was Dec. 26,
As he realized that meant these people would have their gas or water disconnected during the festive season, Esmond decided to take action
“I actually lived that back in the 1980s. I experienced the same thing, having trouble paying bills. My gas was shut off, and we had no heating for the whole winter.
“It was one of the coldest winters in Florida; temperature got down to the single digits.
“That was definitely in my mind when I received the bill this year.” Esmond told CNN.
Esmond, who owns Gulf Breeze Pools & Spa near Pensacola, revealed he spent $4,600 to help 36 families in his community of 6,000 residents. “I got a great feedback on my Facebook page and business phone. People were texting me and calling me to thank me for what I had done.” he said.
“It made me cry. It made me cry. For someone like him, a veteran to come in and do some grand gesture. It was heartfelt for me.” Joanne Oliver, Gulf Breeze’s utility billing supervisor, told CNN affiliate WEAR.
Michael Esmond hasn’t forgotten what it was like having his gas shut off, with no heat for the winter, so the Florida business owner found out who in his community was at risk of having utilities disconnected and paid 36 families’ bills ahead of Christmas https://t.co/FPK7x1l1iM
— CNN (@CNN) December 18, 2019
Instead of getting a warning that their power would soon be disconnected, the families received a letter that read, “It is our honor and privilege to inform you that your past due utility bill has been paid by Gulf Breeze Pools & Spas. You can rest easier this holiday season knowing you have one less bill to pay. On behalf of Gulf Breeze Pools & Spas, we here at the City of Gulf Breeze would like to wish you and your family a happy holiday season.“
What a beautiful gesture from Michael Esmond.
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