06/29/2012 03:00 pm ET Updated Aug 29, 2012

Miracles in the Small Print

Today I received a call out of the blue: would I be at home to have an Edison Energy Savings contractor show up? I was sick, under the covers, but I could answer the door. Frank showed up to inspect my weather stripping, water heater, faucets, shower head, and light bulbs. Before he left I had five new long lasting light bulbs, new weather stripping around my front door so that my dead bolt now worked, a new shower head installed, two new faucets for the exact price of zero dollars and zero cents.

I've lived in my home for almost five years but I could never use the dead bolt. When I first moved in, a handyman helped me put weather stripping in to the tune of $40 per hour, plus the cost of the weather stripping. Today it was free. Today, I can use the dead bolt, thanks to Frank. My shower head, which I loved when I moved in, and which had been chosen and installed by the previous tenant, had been spraying me in the eye and having a tendency to droop down and not stay erect in it's perfect position above my head. My new device has a massage jet and is on a long metal serpentine hose so I can wash more intimately. This isn't something I would have gone shopping for, or indulged in even if I thought of it. But Southern California Edison thought of it, shopped for it, and gave it to me, no questions asked.

I'm a very frugal gal. I watch my money carefully and rarely splurge on anything. If I absolutely must have a shopping fix, I go to the 99 Cent Store. If I plop down anything over thirty bucks I feel I've been indulged. Money to me is more about freedom then it is about objects. Imagine my surprise to receive such bounty unexpectedly.

I'd seen on the web page, or perhaps it was on a bill, that certain qualifying customers could receive a new refrigerator. The machine had to be big enough and old enough. Turns out my box, which leaks water and doesn't make ice, won't qualify because it is too young. I've lived with it as is because of my frugality. I can get ice dishes at the 99 Cent Store and make my own, especially with the juice of Meyer lemons when lucky enough to receive them in bulk from someone who grows them in their garden. But applying for a new fridge didn't alert me to the possibility that other gifts, bestowed on me today, were coming my way. Or maybe, I just hadn't read the small print clearly enough.

I'm not sure if SCE (Southern California Edison) wants this to be common knowledge. I asked Frank why I was receiving these gifts. He said, "Every income qualifying home can receive these upgrades once during the lifetime of their home. It's written clearly on the bill. No one reads the bill. They find out what they owe and read no further." I called SCE (Southern California Edison) and asked if ESA (Energy Savings Assistance Program) would mind my telling the masses of this amazing miracle. They were grateful for the call and said I made their day by reporting to them of how they made my day with their generosity and excellent contractor's service. I'm so delighted I wanted to share my good fortune now.

Life is funny. We know we will have challenges that break our hearts and terrorize our minds. But how rare and often does it happen that a corporation gives away freebies? It was incredible to be surprised by a corporation that understands the concept of service. The electric company has a job to do, which we all need, and we mostly pay no attention to it until we have to interact with it. We all experience poor service so great service needs to be applauded and shared. I received unexpectedly superior service and I didn't want this moment to go unappreciated.

Am I just jaded and have low expectations, or do good, surprising things happen all around me that I am oblivious to? What miracles in the small print did you not know were coming your way and how pleasant was it when you were given unexpected gifts?