Louisville Water Company employee's split personality brings smi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville Water Company employee's split personality brings smiles

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- She's not your typical city worker. When she's not making sure water is delivered to customers' faucets, this veteran employee with the Louisville Water Company takes on a new personality.

It's like any other day at the Louisville Water Company as Michelle Durham reports for work. "I've done probably three quarters of all the jobs here from reading meters, exchanging meters, customer service, fixing main breaks in the zero degree weather, up to your elbows in water," Durham said.

She currently works as a plant maintenance mechanic for the Louisville Water Company.

Her favorite job in her 23 years there is the one you wouldn't recognize her in. It takes a few minutes to dress up as the company mascot and a split second for Michelle to transform into Tapper. "That's how I come out of my shell when I'm in that shell," Durham said.

"For me, it's enjoyable bringing an inanimate object some sort of life, almost to where you forget there's actually a person in it," Durham said. "It makes me feel like a kid again inside of the costume. It kind of gives me an opportunity to decompress and feel good about helping other people out, making them smile, even if it's for a little while."

"We say we have two different types of mascots. We have waving Tapper where it's one of us in costume. We stand and literally wave, and we have Michelle, who actually brings Tapper to life,"  said MarySusan Abell, supervisor of strategic communications for the Louisville Water Company.

A former professional football player and body builder, Durham just can't sit still. "Bubbly, all over the place, always pulling pranks," is how Durham is described by her colleague Kim Thomas.

Her colleagues say Durham never seeks the spotlight until she puts on the Tapper costume. Then, she shines and that's the true Michelle. "She's friendly, loving, always has a smile on her face. Always willing to do anything for anybody, which I think is how she got herself into being Tapper," Abell said.

"Just to touch them and see the smile on their face, it means more to me I think, than maybe it does to them. I hope it does to them. It means a whole lot to me," Durham said.

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