Random acts of kindness bring smiles to faces of Athens Utilities customers

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ATHENS, Ala. - A random act of kindness can go a long way in changing someone's day. It can be something as simple as opening a door for them or paying for a cup of coffee for the person behind you in the drive-thru. This week, we decided to Pay It Forward to complete strangers with a random act of kindness in Limestone County.

People walk in and out of Athens Utilities all day long to pay their bills. That day comes around every month, whether you’re ready for it or not. And of course, winter brings lower temperatures and higher payments. Customer Norma Lasater of Elkmont remarked, “You scrape and scrape, make sure it's as low as you possibly can. You read the meter and everything.” But when the bill comes, it’s often more than what we were expecting.

I walked into Athens Utilities with $319 and randomly gave it away. John Burgett of Athens was one of the first people I saw. When I handed him cash to put on his utility bill, he looked up and said, “ I appreciate it. I certainly appreciate it Jerry.” I gave away a little at a time. Barbara Harris of Athens said it would help. We were hoping to take a little of the sting out of the winter weather budget for some folks. Beverly Smith, who lives in Athens, smiled and said, “That would be wonderful. I appreciate it,” when I handed her some cash.

Each and every person we paid it forward to that day thanked us and told us how much they appreciated our random act of kindness. Ken Britton of Athens was one of those. He told us, “Well, yeah, yeah, that'll help.” I handed him $25 in cash. “Well I appreciate that. Thank you,” he said.  While each got a slice of our $319, every little bit helps. “It sure will. I appreciate you,” Morris Powers said. Veronica Green of Athens thanked us and said, “I appreciate it.” Even after Charlotte Caldwell had cash in hand, she still had a hard time believing we were just giving away money. “Are you really going to do it,” she asked me. I told her yes. “What’s the catch?” she asked. I told her there was no catch. We just wanted to help people pay their utilities bill. She said she was going to use it to pay her water bill.

Jessie Lansell said she could use the money, “I sure can. Thank you. I appreciate it. You've made my day. Thank you.” You just never know how a simple random act of kindness can change someone’s day or even their life. “Thank you so much God bless you. Well, thank you. God bless you,” Vernell Guevara of Athens said. Charlotte Caldwell added, “I needed this. Thank you so much.” Norma Lasater smiled and said, “Well, I was blessed.” And so were we by the wonderful people we met.

Vernell Guevara said with a smile, “I think I'm gonna be happy now. Joy is coming in the morning. I feel better now.” She looked at me and said, “And you're an example of Christ. That's wonderful. We need more of that.” I looked at her and said, “Yes we do.” And we’re not done. Look for more random acts of kindness on Mondays during the month of February in our Pay It Forward segment.