WMU clarifies ‘Secret Santa’ alleged story

Published 10:54 am Monday, December 23, 2019

Some Winchester residents may have been expecting their December utility bills to be paid, but they may want to check again.

Many Winchester residents shared reports on social media of a “Secret Santa” paying utility bills of those in need. According to Winchester Municipal Utilities, it happened, but not to the magnitude reported.

WMU General Manager Duke Dryden said what actually happened was a gentleman came in to pay the bills of his two friends.

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“We didn’t know who the gentleman was,” Dryden said. “He paid the bill, for example, for 1 Main St. and 2 Main St., and that’s what he did and that was his Christmas gift to his friends.”

The original story reported by ABC 36 said, “Winchester Municipal Utilities says someone came into its offices and paid December’s bill for everyone who was on a payment plan or needed an extension.”

Dryden said the story must have spread to an ABC 36 reporter, and some facts were misconstrued. The story has since been taken down from ABC 36’s website.

“One of the ladies that works here, she’s friends with someone that works at Channel 36,” Dryden said. “They were having lunch, and the lady working at Channel 36, she is not a reporter. These two ladies were just sharing some Christmas stories, and the lady shared a story that a gentlemen did come into the office and paid bills for two of his friends.”

Dryden said, although it would have been amazing for someone to pay off bills to that magnitude, it just didn’t happen. To his knowledge, it has never happened at WMU before.

But anyone can be the first, Dryden said.

“I’d love for someone to do that.”

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email lashana.harney@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0015.

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