The words “Florida Man” have become synonymous with unbelievable news reports from the Sunshine State—not usually in a good way; but, there is the occasional uplifting story that shines through. That is the case with Florida man and business owner Michael Esmond, who has made headlines for his generosity during the Christmas season.
Last year, Esmond helped 36 households by paying $4,600 to cover their overdue utility bills that put them at risk of being without basic necessities during the holidays. This year, with the economic effects of the pandemic still raging and the impact of several hurricanes affecting those in his home community of Gulf Breeze, he decided to repeat the charitable gesture. With a donation of $7,615, Edmond aided 114 households this year, and the residents will be notified in the coming weeks with a holiday card.
“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,” Esmond comments. “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.”
Edmond’s generosity will likely alleviate some pressure for many who are struggling financially this holiday season and hopefully inspire others to act in kindness as well. His own inclination to act in such a way stems from the empathy he feels for people who are passing through difficult times.
“I have been down on my luck like people are today, where I had trouble paying bills and raising three daughters,” he says. “The gas company shut the gas off and we didn't have any heat. . . That's probably one of the biggest motivators for me, because I've been there.”
Florida man and business owner Michael Esmond helped his community this holiday season by paying the overdue utility bills of 114 households.