There are times when money is tight or job opportunities are scarce. And for some people who know first-hand what struggle feels like but are now more privileged than most, lending a helping hand is the natural thing to do.

A Florida business owner who himself went through tough times just paid his luck forward – literally – by paying the utility bills of 114 families whose bills were past due and facing disconnection.

A hurricane and a pandemic

Michael Esmond has been a bit of a good-will elf for a while, having paid the the utility bills of 36 homes in his in his community of Gulf Breeze last year. But this year, with a hurricane having hit, followed by COVID, he knew he needed to do more.

“This year to me probably is more meaningful that last year with the pandemic and all the people out of work having to stay home,” Esmond told CNN.

“Hurricane Sally slammed us pretty good and hurt a lot of people. We still have a lot of the blue roofs here, where they’re just covered with tarps.”

Michael Esmond

Wanting to make a difference

In total, that meant a donation of $7,615.40 to pay for the past-due bills of 114 households. He then sent holiday cards to the residents to notify them.

“That really impacted me – that people can’t even afford to pay a $100 bill on their utilities and things are so bad,” Esmond told CNN.

“That’s why I was able to pay for 114 families.”

Esmond’s business actually continued to do well during the pandemic, and that left him with some guilt.

“We’ve had a good year, and that’s why I want to share what I have with the people who need it.”

Michael Esmond

Pay it forward whenever you can

What a beautiful message as we enter the new year. If you have the power to take your good fortune and turn someone’s else’s luck around, do it. It can make a huge difference.

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