December 22, 2020 by Cathy Stack
Michael’s random acts of kindness started last year when he paid the utility bills of 36 households. This year, the great grandfather felt he needed to do more as there were many more struggling in his city dealing with the economic turmoil stemming from both Hurricane Sally and the pandemic.
"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," said Michael.
Michael donated $7,615.40 to pay for the past-due bills of 114 households, confirmed Joanne Oliver, the city's utility billing supervisor. The residents are being notified of the happy news in a holiday greeting card sent to them right before Christmas. Joanne confirmed that the check that Michael wrote covered the bills for people who were 60 days past due. The balance after that covered those who were more than 30 days overdue and had a Covid-19 deferral.
Joanne was touched by his heartfelt gesture. She said she was brought to tears by the notion that even though our country and city is undergoing the most difficult year of some of our lifetimes, there are still generous and kind people out there who really want to help others.
Michael is the owner of Gulf Breeze Pools and Spas. “We've had a good year, and that's why I want to share what I have with the people who need it," he said.
His generosity was inspired by his own experiences. In the 1980s, his own utilities were shut off. "I have been down on my luck like people are today, where I had trouble paying bills while raising three daughters," he said. "The gas company shut the gas off and we didn't have any heat." It happened to be the coldest winter he's ever experienced in the area, and temperatures were in the single digits, he recalled. He never forgot those hard times and is now doing what he can to help others enduring similar hardship.
"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," he said. He added that he hoped his gesture would serve as an example of how we can always find a way to give back.
PassItOn would like to celebrate Michael Esmond for the compassion and kindness he has shown to families in need this Christmas. His action is a great example of the value of generosity and is a reminder of the true meaning of giving this holiday season. Please help us honor this local hero by sharing this heartwarming story.
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