Florida Businessman Pays Overdue Utility Bills For 114 Families Living In His Local Area Who Were At Risk Of Having Their Power And Heating Shut Off

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Florida Businessman Pays Overdue Utility Bills For 114 Families Living In His Local Area Who Were At Risk Of Having Their Power And Heating Shut Off

Photo: © CNN

A kind-hearted Floridian businessman has paid the past-due utility bills of 114 families in the local area who were at risk of having their power and heating shut-off right before Christmas.

Michael Esmond, who is a 74-year-old veteran of the Vietnam war, paid a total of over $7,000 to make sure the families could stay warm this Christmas. The area in which he lives, Gulf Breeze, Florida, has not only suffered the impact of the pandemic this year but was also hit by Hurricane Sally, which caused widespread damage.

Mr. Esmond, who owns a local bath and spa installation company, told reporters from CNN that he was motivated to help others out because despite being very successful today, he has experienced a hard time himself having had his own utilities shut off in 1983.

He said:

"This year to me probably is more meaningful than last year with the pandemic and all the people out of work having to stay home. Hurricane Sally slammed us pretty good and hurt a lot of people. We still have a lot of the blue roofs here, where they're just covered with tarps."

He added:

"People can't afford to pay their bills and put food on the table, so I hope doing my part and paying some bills for these folks takes a little bit of stress off of them around Christmas time… I have been down on my luck like people are today, where I had trouble paying bills and raising three daughters. I can relate to people suffering and not being able to pay bills, it's probably one of the biggest motivators for me, because I've been there."

All of those who received the funds from Mr. Esmond were at least 60 days-overdue on their bills and were informed of Mr. Esmond's actions via a card they received at their homes.

This isn't the first time that Mr. Esmond has been involved in great acts of kindness in his local community. In 2019, he did the same thing as he did this year for 36 families who were behind on their bills. In 2001, following the September 11th terror attacks, Mr. Esmond placed dozens of American flags along a bridge in his hometown and did not remove them until the last of the bodies of the dead were recovered from Ground Zero some 9 months later.

Mr. Esmond may be successful, but he is certainly no multi-millionaire. In 2019, when reporters asked him about why he was paying other people's utility bills he said he hoped that it would encourage others to do the same. He said:

"I'm hoping that I can send a message to other businessmen or people that are in the same status as me that there are people out there that can be helped. You don't have to be a millionaire to help people."

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Thinking Humanity: Florida Businessman Pays Overdue Utility Bills For 114 Families Living In His Local Area Who Were At Risk Of Having Their Power And Heating Shut Off
Florida Businessman Pays Overdue Utility Bills For 114 Families Living In His Local Area Who Were At Risk Of Having Their Power And Heating Shut Off
A kind-hearted Floridian businessman has paid the past-due utility bills of 114 families in the local area who were at risk of having their power and
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