Viewers help rescue indebted MLGW customer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC-TV) - Thanks to the generosity of Action News 5 viewers, one Mid-South woman is no longer in the dark.

Tears of joy rolled down 65-year-old Margaret Smith's face as she learned people in the community had come forward to help pay her utility bill.

"My Lord, ain't God good to us?"

Smith never imagined that total strangers would come to her rescue after electricity in her home was cut off three months ago.

"I feel wonderful," she said.

Action News 5 received dozens of phone calls and e-mail messages from viewers after airing a story Thursday night about MLGW cutoffs.

Smith is just one of nearly 70,000 people who've lost their utilities this year. That's an increase of just under 20,000 customers.

"Of course, you can't help everybody," said viewer John Waddell. "But this was one thing where I said, 'Hey, I can help this lady.'"

Waddell said Smith's predicament flipped a switch with him. "It was just a sad situation, and I guess something I hadn't thought about much 'til I saw it."

Action News 5 team members personally delivered the check to MLGW. Officials said several other donations followed.

"I was wondering how I was going to handle all this," said Smith's son Rodney. "My bill, her bill -- I was beginning to get stressed out."

As tough economic times continue, the family's struggles might not be over, but at least there's one less thing to worry for a while.

"This means life, happiness -- that's what it means," Smith said. "There's love out there."

MLGW says power should be restored to Smith's home as soon as possible. If you'd like to help someone pay their bill, or if you need assistance, contact MLGW at (901) 544-MLGW or click here.

Click here to e-mail Jason Miles.