We spent the last couple of weeks traveling in the UK for story coverage when we read about James Anderson, a big-hearted plumber in the town of Burnley, who gained internet fame when a receipt for one of his jobs went viral.
Anderson made a service call to a 91-year-old woman suffering from leukemia. The charge for fixing her boiler: zero. What’s more, the bill adds: “No charge for this lady under any circumstances. We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible.”
The woman’s daughter originally shared a picture of the bill on her Facebook, which has since been liked hundreds of thousands of time.
As it turns out, this is how Anderson operates. He has been running Depher, which stands for Disabled & Elderly Plumbing and Heating Emergency Repair, as a not-for-profit plumbing company since 2017.
“There are too many elderly and disabled people suffering in silence," he told the BBC. “They don't like asking for help. They don't want to be a burden. We take away the burden, the stigma”
And you may imagine, while Anderson’s work helps his customers stay out of debt, he has occurred a bit of his own. In another story we picked up just before heading back home, he had received the equivalent of more $98,000 in donations.
The extra funds mean that Anderson can increase the amount of help his company offers, which extends from free to discounted service, as well as advice on what other help might be available.
The company has a crowdfunding page, and performs regular plumbing jobs. "Any money we make goes back into the Depher account,” he added.