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Plumber’s Invoice For Cancer-Sick 91-Year-Old Goes Viral

When a 91-year-old cancer-sick woman began to have trouble with her boiler, her family called a plumber. After fixing the problem, he sent his invoice, which shocked the daughter so much that she decided to post it on social media for all to see. It didn’t take long for it to go viral.

James Anderson, a plumber in the British town of Burnley, had no idea he was about to gain internet stardom when he took a job fixing the leaky boiler of a 91-year-old terminally ill woman with leukemia. But that’s exactly what happened after he sent an invoice to the woman’s daughter, Christine Rowlands, who was quick to post the receipt on Facebook for the world to see.

According to the social media post, Christine asked James how much he would be charging for the repairs, and James told her he would email her an invoice. When she received and reviewed the invoice, she was in utter disbelief, leading her to rhetorically ask the internet, “How kind is this?” alongside a screenshot of the surprising invoice.

As one can see, the repair was free of charge, prompting Christine to describe James as an “Angel dressed as a plumber” after he billed her $0 for the job. What’s more, he included a heartfelt message on the bill that indicated there would be “No charge for this lady under any circumstances.” However, James’ generosity didn’t end there. He also added, “We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible,” insisting on giving the woman “free plumbing for life,” CNN reported.

Shockingly, this act of kindness wasn’t the first time for the plumber, originally from Liverpool. Instead, James Anderson explained that he had turned his plumbing business into a community project for vulnerable people and had helped and assisted thousands before this particular good deed. To be precise, when his viral invoice made the news in 2019, he said he had helped 2,389 people since March 2017.

After James saw another elderly person being “manipulated,” he was inspired to set up his not-for-profit plumbing company called DEPHER, which stands for Disabled & Elderly Plumbing and Heating Emergency Repair.

“It got me thinking about other elderly and vulnerable people — we need to do something more to help the people who need it most,” Anderson recalled in a phone interview. “A lot of elderly and disabled people don’t like asking for assistance and if they can’t afford something like fixing the boiler, they might not do it and get into trouble. We are there to take that worry away.”

James, who reportedly works on a volunteer basis and takes no wages for himself, said that he hopes that, by lowering the cost, people can use the saved money in other important areas of their lives and help “keep their independence.” Of course, he can’t do it all by himself. Instead, he relies heavily on donations and crowdfunding to support the free service. Previously, DEPHER received £2,000 (approximately $2,500 USD) from the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund, the Queen’s charity, but James said, at times, it has still been a “struggle.”

In 2019, after the invoice-gone-viral, Anderson admitted that he had drummed up debts of around £8,000 (over 10,000USD)fromrunningtheservice.However,heinsistedhehadeverythingundercontrol,payingitoffinmonthly£100(roughly125 USD) installments to the bank as he refused to let financial burdens slow him down.

“As long as I have enough money to fill up the tank in my car, I will be there to try and help the people who need it,” James Anderson promised.

Even at times when funding is running out, the generous plumber said he offers a 25% discount to those in need. That discount is seemingly what Christine Rowlands thought her mother would receive when she came across James Anderson while looking for a plumber who could fix the boiler at a reduced cost. Of course, she was pleasantly surprised to see all fees waived.

“James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing,” Christine Rowlands she told CNN.

After going viral and receiving donations from around the world, the plumber has found even more ways to help, including paying utility bills, delivering food, and launching the Christmas Toy Appeal. But, it’s not all “for nothing.” James Anderson admitted that he does get something back from his work for vulnerable people, but it isn’t financial gain. Simply put, doing good for others makes him feel good inside.

“It makes me feel human, humble and a little giddy inside,” James said. “I want to expand this service across the country. I will never give up the fight.”

Although James doesn’t always expect payment, he admitted it is sometimes nice to receive a “smile and a cup of tea.” That’s a small price to pay for the comfort and warmth James Anderson has provided with his free and reduced-cost services over the years. But, make no mistake, he’s given even more than that to the world. The “Angel dressed as a plumber” has restored faith in humanity, reminding us all that when we open our hearts and wallets to help others, the world becomes a better place for us all.