Goodwill on tap: Woman pays others' water bills

More than a dozen families in Iowa City received an unexpected Thanksgiving gift from an anonymous local woman: running water.

Iowa City officials say a woman walked into City Hall on Nov. 22 and donated $1,640 to pay off 17 local water utility accounts to ensure they had running water for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Iowa City Revenue and Risk Manager Melissa Miller says the generosity shocked city officials, who then worked with the woman to identify accounts with overdue balances that she could pay off.

"I’ve never seen it happen, and the majority of my staff has been here much longer than I have, and they haven’t heard of anything like it either,” Miller told the Des Moines Register. “It was a wonderful gesture.”

Eleven of the accounts had their water shut off on Nov. 22 due to unpaid balances, and six more were scheduled to be shut off within hours. Their water was turned back on shortly after the payment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.