NEW YORK - Renee and Rhea Mendonca are twin sisters living on Staten Island, who graduated Thursday from Susan Wagner High School. You may remember our Acts of Kindness report on them Monday. They said they have been bringing free groceries to seniors who are housebound because of coronavirus.
"At the beginning of every school year, our mom would tell us to fill a bucket of a minimum of ten good deeds daily. Since then, doing good came naturally to us," Renee Mendonca said.
NY1 also reported on a GoFundMe page created to raise money for their effort. Other New York stations also reported on them.
What we did not know, is that last week the sisters were featured in a story by a Tallahassee, Florida station, which said the girls had claimed to live in that community and deliver groceries to people who lived there.They claimed to have graduated from Leon High School in Tallahassee, the oldest public high school in Florida.
However, Renee's LinkedIn page, which boasts of her accomplishments, shows she attended Wagner High.
The day after we reported on the twins, the Florida station discovered the twins' story to them did not hold up.
The station said it initially reported about the sisters after a woman who identified herself as "Kayla" contacted the station asking for help in highlighting twins who she said were making a difference.
A woman calling herself Kayla also contacted NY1 to do a story about the twins. She said she was their mom.
After learning about the Florida story, I called Kayla’s number. She denied wrongdoing and handed the phone to the twins.
They insisted Kayla and their mom actually were two different people and that Kayla was a neighbor, but they did not have her number or address.
The twins repeatedly denied speaking to the Tallahassee reporter, or saying they attended high school there.
When pressed, they admitted they did speak to him, and that they said they graduated from Leon High School. They claimed they misunderstood his questions.
Their GoFundMe site, which had received $250 in donations, has been taken down.
"I can confirm that we removed the campaign and all donors will be refunded. Campaigns with misuse are very rare, and we take all complaints very seriously,” said GoFundMe spokesman Melanie Yost said.