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Charity Is a Gas

By Shannon in News on Jan 21, 2007 4:41PM

dialed inWe've got it relatively good in the winter, us Chicagoist folk. The last two apartments we've lived in, the radiator heat's been jacked up so high in the winter that we could literally walk around in our shorts. But before that, we were in a place that only had one centrally-located gas heater, and that thing gobbled up resources like nobody's business. Our heretofore unknown gas bill shot into the sky like Wile E. Coyote. So it is with a certain amount of sympathy that we read about the case of Mary Gray, a senior citizen on dialysis whose 18-month-old Nicor gas bill had crept up to a whopping $3,500.

Gray's Social Security checks and utility funding weren't enough to pay the bill every month, hence the balance outstanding. Her heat was turned off back in the summer, which wasn't so big a deal; but with winter now in full force, Gray was forced to move out and take up residence with a relative. Her existing health problems worsened due to lack of heat. Things looked pretty grim for the formerly independent Ford Heights woman.

That's when Gray's physician, Dr. Holly Kramer, took it upon herself to ease her patient's financial burden. She told her husband Curt about Gray's situation. Immediately, he offered to pay $3,000 towards the bill and asked Nicor to forgive the rest, on account of Gray's health. Nicor refused, saying they'd need the whole thing. Then Dr. Kramer's fellow colleagues got wind of the story and insisted on chipping in, erasing the rest of Gray's debt. As a result, a grateful Gray is back inside a heated home. Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn also presented an award to the Kramers for being the Good Samaritans that they are. As inspiring as that is, we have to be Negative Nancies for a bit and hope Gray can make her payments from now on, or else she'll just end up in the same situation as before.

Image courtesy of pantagrapher.