Acts of Kindness
Veteran spends thousands paying off families’ overdue bills so their utilities aren’t shut off
Michael knows what it's like to struggle and have the utilities turned off. That's why he decided to bring peace to residents all over his area.
Irene Markianou
11.16.22

Back in the ’80s, Army veteran Michael Esmond of Gulf Breeze, Florida, had a terrible experience because he was struggling to make ends meet and he could not afford to pay his gas bills at the time.

Unsplash - Towfiqu barbhuiya
Source:
Unsplash - Towfiqu barbhuiya

Over the Christmas holidays that year, he and his family had to live in a freezing home that even had ice on the inside.

“Back in the 80s I actually lived that,” said Esmond. “I experienced a time where I had trouble paying bills.

And we actually had the gas disconnected. It happened to be one of the coldest winters in history,” he said in an interview with WEAR ABC 3 News.

Unsplash - Farrel Nobel
Source:
Unsplash - Farrel Nobel

After that, Esmond managed to run a successful company, Gulf Breeze Pools and Spas, and he has since never had such a problem again.

Still, he never forgets where he started from, and people who are struggling to pay their bills are always in his mind.

So, three years ago, right before Christmas, he decided to give back to his community.

Facebook - WEAR ABC 3 News, Pensacola
Source:
Facebook - WEAR ABC 3 News, Pensacola

“The community has been good to me and I’m trying to give back to the community,” Esmond said.

The man spent more than $4k that year paying past-due utility bills on behalf of his fellow citizens.

That year, he helped dozens of people thanks to his act of generosity, and he could not be happier.

He made sure to send every family he helped a Christmas card that explained it was his company that had paid their bill.

Unsplash - Alexander Mils
Source:
Unsplash - Alexander Mils

In the card, he also wrote that they could “rest earlier this holiday season” because they had one less bill to pay- which must have been a relief to all those people.

And, while the veteran could have stopped there, he didn’t.

He continued paying past-due utility bills for numerous families over the next couple of years. And it wasn’t just during the holiday season.

Facebook - WEAR ABC 3 News, Pensacola
Source:
Facebook - WEAR ABC 3 News, Pensacola

In 2021, his act of generosity inspired a local peanut company to give him a $104,000 check for all the good he’s done, and Esmond made sure to use it to help even more families in need (hundreds in fact).

“I paid everybody’s past-due account for a while, about March to August, like six months straight,” Esmond said.

“Nobody that had their utilities, Gulf Breeze utilities, had anything disconnected,” he told Pensacola News Journal in a follow-up interview.

Facebook - WEAR ABC 3 News, Pensacola
Source:
Facebook - WEAR ABC 3 News, Pensacola

The army veteran is more than happy to help his fellow citizens when they are struggling and need it the most.

He’s been extremely touched by all the responses he’s received from the residents he’s helped, who couldn’t be more grateful.

Facebook - WEAR ABC 3 News, Pensacola
Source:
Facebook - WEAR ABC 3 News, Pensacola

Of course, he’s not done helping those families in need, and he definitely already has plans for helping even more people this coming holiday season.

Esmond hopes that his act of generosity will inspire more companies in the country and worldwide to help those less fortunate get back on their feet.

Facebook - WEAR ABC 3 News, Pensacola
Source:
Facebook - WEAR ABC 3 News, Pensacola

Watch the good Samaritan talk about this heartwarming story in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Irene Markianou
[email protected]
Irene Markianou is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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