Florida business owner who once spent Christmas without power just paid the past due balances for 36 families
When a Florida business owner received his power, which had a due date of December 26th, it painfully took him back to the 1980s when he was barely making it and living paycheck o paycheck.
But this painful memory sparked an idea in Michael Esmond’s head – pay the past due utility bills of some of the families in his community.
Excited about giving back, Esmond reached out and found out who in his Gulf Breeze community was at risk of having their utilities disconnected – he then proceeded to pay the power bills for 36 families ahead of Christmas – amazing!
Esmond, who owns Gulf Breeze Pools & Spa near Pensacola, told CNN he spent $4,600 to give his neighbors “a happier Christmas and take a little bit of stress out.”
“I actually lived that back in the 1980s,” he said. “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,” Esmond continued. “That was definitely in my mind when I received the bill this year.”
Esmond has developed a close relationship with his community members over his time being a business owner, so he felt compelled to give back and help out – especially during the holidays.
“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,” Joanne Oliver, Gulf Breeze’s utility billing supervisor, told WEAR.
“For someone like him, a veteran to come in and do some grand gesture. It was heartfelt for me.”
And much to their surprise and relief, the families received a holiday card from the city, instead of warnings.
The cards 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.”
As for Michael – he’s just happy no one will be spending the holidays like he did back in the 80s – without power.
It’s always the little things that make the biggest impact, especially when someone does something like this out of the kindness of their heart – because kindness is Majic!