To make sure that his neighbors get to experience truly happy holidays, Mike Esmond from Florida decided to pay their utility bills.
The holidays are supposed to be a time of love, joy, warmth, and giving. However, not everyone has the privilege of experiencing a warm Christmas. Sadly, some people will not have a warm fireplace to rest by or a delicious Christmas dinner to feast on. Thankfully, there are guardian angels out there whose random acts of kindness make the holidays a better time for everyone. Mike Esmond from Florida is one of those guardian angels. This holiday season, he decided to extend a helping hand and pay the utility bills of 36 families so they wouldn't lose their heating during the harsh wintertime, Today.com reports.
The kind senior was inspired to do so because of his own experiences. Many decades ago now, a young Esmond was raising his family when was struggling to pay his own utility bills. Then, the worst happened. During one of the coldest winters he had ever experienced, his family's heating was shut off because he couldn't pay the bills. His family of five was stuck without heat that winter. He shared in an interview, "It was the coldest winter Pensacola ever had. We didn’t have any heat. Our windows had ice and icicles on it." That year, temperatures had reached a record-low, dipping into single digits.
This year, he remembered that incident when he opened up his gas and water bills. He noticed that the due date to make the payment was December 26, only a day after Christmas. That is when a stark realization dawned on him. "That made something pop into my mind, that people have to pay these bills by December 26," he stated. "If they don’t pay them, they’re going to be disconnected, and they’re not going have gas or water for the holidays." Now, as a successful 73-year-old businessman, he was finally in a position to do some good. Taking action, he decided he would spread the joy by paying off the utility bills of any families whose heating was on the verge of being shut off.
He went to his city, Gulf Breeze, Florida, and asked for a list of all the families who were yet to pay their bills. He was handed a list of 36 families who owned a total of an estimated $4,600. After he paid the bills off, he thought that would be the end of it. However, some of the administrative employees at the utility office decided to make a Christmas card to inform the families who benefitted from Esmond's generous donation. Laughing, he explained, "When I did this, I didn’t even know that the city was going to do what they did! The ladies in the billing department actually used their computers to make up a Christmas card and they sent it out to all the people that were expecting their gas to be disconnected."
Esmond had no idea about the card until people started reaching out to him in order to say thank you. The card 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." It also wished everyone a happy holiday season. The kind man said after people started contacting him, "I never expected people to be so appreciative of me doing something I thought was a simple gesture to make Christmas better for some families. I started out, I thought this would be a cool thing to do and people who are worried about paying bills are going to find out that they don’t have to pay the bills. But I never knew it would snowball the way it has. I just wanted to do something this time of the year — Christmastime — to do something to help families that really needed help. I’m just as surprised and overwhelmed as everybody else." Esmond has received messages of appreciation from people all over, including individuals from Canada and South America. His random act of kindness has without a doubt made a positive impact on hundreds.