After the unprecedented year we’ve all endured many of us are feeling the pinch when it comes to our finances.
For many families Christmas often means tightening their spending to buy gifts and sadly for some having to choose between gifts or paying the rent.
Thankfully, more than 100 families in Florida were able to enjoy a stress-free Christmas thanks to local businessman Mike Esmond.
The great-grandfather has been described as a “guardian angel” after paying off the outstanding utility bills of 114 struggling families in his local community in danger of being cut off.
Mike, who owns a successful swimming pool construction business, paid off the outstanding bills worth $7,600 saying he was prompted by the high levels of unemployment this pandemic has caused.
“When we had Hurricane Sally, that did a lot of damage to a lot of residents here,” Mike told CBS News. “And the pandemic, I know, has a lot of people out of work… they’ve closed up, they’ve laid people off. So this year, I felt like I really needed to do something.”
Last year Mike came to the aid of 36 families by paying off their bills worth $4,600.
‘I just couldn’t handle it’
Although a successful business owner today Mike is no stranger to financial woes after admitting there were times when he struggled to pay the bills while raising his three daughters.
“I found myself in a situation where I just couldn’t handle it,” he said. “So I decided not to pay the gas bill [once] because this is Florida, it doesn’t get cold. Boy, was I wrong about that, because the winter I picked to have the gas shut off so I didn’t have any heat turned out to be the coldest winter that Pensacola had ever experienced and it went down to 6 degrees.”
The lucky residents received a Christmas card from Gulf Breeze Pools saying their utility bill had been paid.
In a year which has left so many people in desperate situations we should all be trying to find ways to help others, however small the offering we can make, we must dig deep and show kindness.
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