JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- 'Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house, not a light could be found because its power was off.
"You don't want to see your kids having to go to a dark home to open their presents with no lights on the tree," Ester Dayhoff said.
Neighbor Dayhoff says the McCarthy family had recently fallen into some hard times.
"She had a job that she was working for a few years, but then she got sick, she has migraine headaches," Dayhoff said. "She was in and out of the hospital with the migraines trying to get treatment and relief for pain, and they'd said she's missed too many days and they'd have to let her go."
Dayhoff said she found out Friday night that the McCarthy's power had been turned off, and by Saturday morning, she had lined up a donor from her church to pay the bill.
"I let her know that we had found someone who was willing to pay it, and then she said 'we need to get it paid by noon.' And I said, 'that only gives us six minutes!" Dayhoff said.
The Dayhoffs say they rushed to Winn-Dixie to pay the electric bill, but once they got inside they found there was a problem with the payment.
"We went in with the check and everything and they started working on it and then they said they couldn't accept a check. So I had to come back home with the person, go back by myself with a debit card, and then I had to stand in line for ten minutes, so by the time I got it paid it was 12:24. And she called JEA to let them know, but by then they said 'our offices are closed until Wednesday.'"
First Coast News reached out to JEA for comment, but was unable to get a hold of anyone.
JEA's website states: "Payments made on weekends will be credited at 7 am Monday morning..."
But when Monday morning is Christmas Eve, the lights just might have to stay out at the McCarthy's.
Anchor/Reporter Erica Edwards: JEA was not a "Grinch" at all; its
offices were simply closed. However, I was able to get a hold of someone
at JEA and it made sure a crew went to turn the power back on for the
family. There were acts of kindness
all around on this Christmas Eve!
First Coast News