Lifestyle & Human Interest

After Contestant's 'Wheel of Fortune' Mistake Costs Her, Good Samaritans Give Her Free Trip Anyway


“Wheel of Fortune” contestant Kristen Shaw made headlines last week when she lost out on $10,000 worth of cash and prizes, but as it turns out, there is a silver lining to her costly mistake.

Shaw, 26, broke one of the rules of the game when she added “and” to what should have been a four-worded answer to a crossword puzzle challenge. It was a simple mistake, but Shaw ended up losing out on an all-expenses-paid trip to Nashville and nearly $2,000 in cash.

While some viewers were upset with “Wheel of Fortune” officials for upholding the rule, Shaw knew she had made the mistake as soon as she gave her answer.

“As soon as it came out my mouth, I knew what I did wrong,” Shaw told WKRN. “But I didn’t want to show my disappointment because I knew I was on camera. But my heart was pounding inside, my heart just sunk.”

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Shaw was shocked to find out that the following morning, her story had gone viral, with American viewers upset she had lost out on such a nice prize because of a tiny error.

“To wake up Friday and find out people were asking for a rule change, I couldn’t believe it,” Shaw said.

L.J. Whalen, from the Nashville-based tourism company Adventureworks, was among the people who were disappointed that Shaw would not be making the trip to Music City.

“I just felt bad because that tiny mistake cost her the opportunity to visit our great city,” Whalen told WKRN.

But Whalen had an idea: “Why don’t we just give her the prize back?”

So Whalen decided to make a few phone calls, asking industry colleagues from some of Nashville’s main attractions if they would still be willing to give Shaw her all-expenses-paid trip to their city.

“I called the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Ryman,” he said.

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One by one, Whalen received an enthusiastic “yes” from those he called, including Melissa Elliot of Old Town Trolley Tours and Chakita Patterson of United Street Tours.

“Our hospitality community is so close-knit, and we’d love to show Ms. Shaw and the nation that we’re a lot more than boot stomping and beer drinking. This is what we do here in Nashville. We give second chances,” Whalen said in a news release. “AND we are not going to make you solve a puzzle to claim it.”

Thanks to the generosity of Nashville’s tourism companies, Shaw will get her Music City experience after all.

“I was honestly so shocked I was almost speechless,” she said. “There is a lot of negativity in this world, but this shows me we are all human, we make mistakes, and for someone to want to give me a second chance, it just blew me away.”

Shaw has yet to set the dates for her trip, but plans to bring her mother along for the experience.

As if all this were not enough, WKRN reported another huge win for Shaw: the winner who received the Nashville trip in light of Shaw’s mistake has offered to share his winnings with Shaw.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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