Kristen Shaw was just four words away from $1,950 and a trip to Nashville. But the Wheel of Fortune contestant, 26, instead said five words, and that extra word cost her the prize: The Maine woman, during the episode that was taped in October and aired Thursday, was supposed to read just the words on the board: “right,” “football,” “left,” “Sally.” Shaw knew the rule, but in the excitement of the moment, she inserted an “and” in between “left” and “Sally,” and host Pat Sajak regretfully informed her she had lost.
“It was probably one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life,” Shaw tells USA Today. “And I knew that in about a month, almost everyone in America would see it.” She was correct; the story about the flub that cost her a trip worth more than $8,000 quickly went viral after the episode aired—but that turned out to be a good thing.
LJ Whalen, a director at Nashville-based tourism company Adventureworks, heard about Shaw’s story and decided to set things right by getting Shaw her trip to Music City. He coordinated with hospitality companies in Nashville, and together the businesses offered Shaw plane tickets, hotel accommodations, and tickets to the Grand Ole Opry.
(Photo of Kristin Shaw)