A kind man from Florida is playing Santa for the second year in a row, with this year's gift being dues paid to families at risk of losing utility service.

“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,” Michael Esmond, 74, told CNN.

Esmond, the owner of a pool installation company, paid just over $7,600 this year for past due bills affecting 114 families, the city’s utility billing supervisor, Joanne Oliver, told CNN.

“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,” Esmond said.

Gulf Breeze, where he lives, didn't have to deal with a pandemic, but also was rocked by Hurricane Sally earlier this year.

Esmond was able to continue his generosity, because his business did well this year. Last year, he paid $4600 to help out 36 families.

“I have been down on my luck like people are today, where I had trouble paying bills and raising three daughters,” he told CNN. “The gas company shut the gas off and we didn’t have any heat.

“I can relate to people suffering and not being able to pay bills,” Esmond said. “That’s probably one of the biggest motivators for me, because I’ve been there.”

Read more at CNN

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