Nashville helped prove that it’s one of the friendliest cities by funding an unforgettable trip for a “Wheel of Fortune” contestant.
Kristen Shaw was a contestant on “Wheel of Fortune” back in October 2019. The 26-year-old made a tragic mistake during the second puzzle of the show. Nearly every letter was on the board when she went to make her guess.
Nashville and ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Contestant
She had to just essentially read the puzzle correctly and would walk away with the earnings. She had to say “right, football, left, Sally.” Shaw said all the correct words but added the word “and” while solving.
It is a longstanding “Wheel of Fortune” rule that contestants cannot add or change any of the words of a puzzle. It must be read exactly as it appears. The show stuck with those rules. The buzzer, indicating a wrong answer, loudly sounded. Pat Sajak said that she was incorrect.
For such a small mistake, Shaw had some major repercussions. Shaw lost $1,950. Beyond that, she lost a trip to Nashville, which would have been worth $8,000. “It was probably one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life. And I knew that in about a month, almost everyone in America would see it,” Shaw said to the Tennessean.
Shaw then had to patiently wait another month for her mistake to become a national source of entertainment. In fact, it would become a viral news story, but for an entirely different reason.
L.J. Whalen, who is a director of Adventureworks in Nashville, reached out to Shaw to help make her loss sting a little less. Whalen teamed up with other Nashville businesses and created an all-new prize trip to gift to her.
The gift had plane tickets, hotel bookings, a Grand Ole Opry ticket, and several other exclusive gifts. “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. AND we are not going to make you solve a puzzle to claim it,” Whalen said in a press release.
Shaw was blown away by the act of kindness and planned to take her mother with her. Despite the “Wheel of Fortune” mistake, Shaw still won big.
Outcry Over Show Rules
Shaw is not the only one who has lost money due to this “Wheel of Fortune” rule. Since 2016, the show has been enforcing this specific “no conjunction” rule.
A recent contestant, David Petersen, lost his winnings after including the word “and” while solving a puzzle. After his loss, social media users spoke out on the rule. Some believed that it was a silly technicality.
Meanwhile, others just consider it a part of the game. Sajak warns contestants before they play of this specific rule.
Despite the outcry, Petersen sided with the show. He agreed that it was a part of the game and his mistake was valid. He walked away with only $1,000 in prize money. The rule remains a controversial one.