NBA veteran Zach Randolph is known not only for his play on the basketball court but also for his generosity. The former Memphis Grizzlies star has always given back to the community, so when a rumor started on social media that he was helping Memphians pay off their utility bills, many believed it and rushed to make payments.
WREG reported that Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division customers headed to bill-pay kiosks on Saturday after hearing the rumor that Randolph had contributed $1 million to help residents pay their bills. More than 20,000 people made payments in one day. The number of payments made via kiosks on a typical Saturday is 800. This unusually high number of those looking to pay their bills that day led to traffic jams and long lines at gas stations and other establishments where the kiosks were located. In addition, tensions over the wait in the summer heat ended up causing some problems, as authorities said officers responded to calls about people arguing and fighting over spots in line.
Even though MLGW informed its customers that the rumor about Randolph’s contribution was a hoax, many still believed the news because the machines were showing that they only owed 1 percent of the actual balance on their bills. But any hopes they had of it being true were dashed when the two-time All-Star took to Twitter to let residents know that it was not.
So what caused the kiosks to display the discounts telling customers that they owed just one percent of their balance? MLGW President and CEO Jerry Collins explained the reason for that was a software glitch that misplaced a decimal point on the account balances.
However, there is some good coming out after all the weekend confusion and frustration.
The Commerical Appeal noted that Collins said he really felt for all of the customers who fell for the rumor and therefore he decided to launch the #50forthecity project. The goal is to raise $20,000 for those who need help paying their utility bills through the same program Randolph uses for his annual contribution. So far, more than $3,000 has been raised.
Randolph, 35, was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2001 where he played for six seasons before stints with the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers. He was traded to the Grizzlies in 2009, and just last week, after becoming a free agent, he signed a two-year deal with the Sacramento Kings.
[Featured Image by David Zalubowski/AP Images]