The owner of a chain of spas has been helping his neighbors pay utility bills for the second year. This year, he gave twice as much money and managed to help three times as many families. Thanks to him, 114 homes will be able to celebrate the holidays without cutting off gas and electricity.
Michael Esmond is a middle-aged American businessman from Florida. For the second year in a row, he has been giving a generous Christmas present to poor families in his town. For the second year in a row, he pays off debts for electricity and gas so that people can celebrate Christmas with their families, cook a festive dinner, light a garland and keep warm. Give each other gifts - instead of scraping up the last cents on utility bills.
Last year, Michael donated four thousand dollars to charity and managed to help 36 families who were on the verge of a power outage and gas. This year, he gave seven and a half thousand dollars to help poor families - and this was enough to pay the bills of 114 families. The state government has promised a 60-day shutdown delay and an additional month for those affected by COVID-19 as a supportive measure.
Despite this, many families did not have money to pay utility bills, and they risked being left in the dark at Christmas. A businessman helped these people - first he paid the largest and most urgent debts, then - the accounts of those who still had a delay of a month. Michael says he was able to help so many because some families had $100 in unpaid bills. Just $100 turned out to be an unbearable amount for many. This year has been really tough!
This year, the state was hit by a hurricane in the Gulf Breeze storm washed away the dam and swept a section downriver. Many families literally have no roof over their heads - they live in houses covered with pieces of tarpaulin. Gulf Breeze is a small town, only 6,000 inhabitants. Income here is lower than the national average, especially for women. From entertainment - only a national park and a zoo. So the pandemic left many people out of work, and the flood "finished off".
But Michael Esmond's hotels and spas were full of customers. Those who kept their incomes through the pandemic were willing to spend even more money to relax and get distracted. So for the businessman, the year turned out to be even more profitable. He wanted to share his success with others - and is already signing cards to wish his neighbors a Merry Christmas and tell them that their debts have been paid.
He explains that this makes him feel uncomfortable - when there are people around who do not have enough money for basic needs, he is quite successful. He remembers the times when he couldn't feed himself and his two daughters and couldn't pay utility bills. Therefore, he wants to help others.
In Yakutsk, the neighbors also decided to make a New Year's gift to those who are always there. And this couple worked as Santa's helpers for two years - it all started with one letter that they accidentally answered.