This Elderly Man Lived Without Heat for Two Years, Until Strangers Came Together to Help

The holidays are officially upon us, which means most of us have been knee-deep in Amazon orders, wrapping paper, sugar cookies, and holiday cards for weeks now. But in between all our present-buying and cookie baking and self-induced holiday stress, it can be easy to forget that this time of year is also about showing kindness towards others. After all, isn’t that what the “season of giving” is truly all about?

Such is the theme to a sweet viral story out of the U.K. this week, which I’ll admit starts off a bit depressing, but ends on a truly uplifting note.

“Meet Tom!” the Facebook post begins. “Tom lives on his own, his wife died, he never had any children and has no family.”

“Emma [Patterson] gets the same bus home nearly every day and more or less befriended Tom,” it continues. “Tom told her that he has no one and has been living in a cold house for two years without heating!! That’s due to a rogue heating company in Newcastle ripping him off with zero aftercare. He gave up trying and decided to live cold.”

Heartbreaking, right? But see, that’s when Tom’s new friend Emma set out to make things right:

“Emma, through being a totally selfless and humble person, took it upon herself to buy Tom a scarf (which he loves) and some mince pies and promised him he would get his heating sorted as when she went inside his house she said it was like a fridge.”

So she posted a Facebook status asking if there was anyone out there who specialized in heating systems that could come take a look at Tom’s house. He didn’t have any money to pay them, she explained, but perhaps they could do a kind old man a favor?

It seems her plan worked: Emma tagged Jimmy Haghighat in her status, who happens to work for Proflame Heating Services in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. And he was more than happy to help.

“I hope one day if that was my family member someone would do the same,” Haghighat later shared. “We got his heating up and running and now know he will be warm this Christmas.”

The Facebook post, which was written by Haghighat himself, has since gone viral, with over 18K likes so far and counting.

This is humanity at it’s best,” wrote one user. “Heart rendering to see people having to live like this. Well done to all that put this mans needs first.”

This story is heartwarming for a lot of reasons. But perhaps most of all for this: It highlights the universal truth that what may be a small act of kindness by one person could make a world of difference for another. In this case, Emma’s small act — of simply asking the Facebook world for help — set off a chain of events that connected two total strangers in an amazing way.

And it’s a reminder to us all just how much power we have to positively impact someone’s day, week, year, or even better, life.

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