Wheel of Fortune contestant Charlene gifted Audi after rule controversy

One of the more bizarre social-media stories of the past week has, thankfully, found a way to reach a happy conclusion.

If you haven’t been following along, here is some of what you need to know. A contestant named Charlene on Wheel of Fortune recently managed to correctly solve a puzzle in the Bonus Round, only to be told that it wasn’t correct at all. Why? She said the final word, “Word,” after a pause. The show claims that per their rules, an answer has to be reasonably continuous. Can we understand some practical reasons for this being in place? Sure, but in the Bonus Round you don’t have a whole lot of time! Charlene’s case was clearly one where she just wanted to make sure she got the correct answer in before the buzzer and time was running out. (You can see video of the entire saga below, courtesy of former Jeopardy! champ Alex Jacob.)

The end result of all of this? Charlene lost out on a new Audi Q3, which would make a pretty delightful gift during the holiday season.

Here’s the good news: Audi is stepping up, even after Wheel of Fortune snubbed her the prize. Jacob and many others rallied the car company to go ahead and give her a new Q3 anyway, and they’ve delivered! With the help of social media they were able to track down Charlene and make sure that she gets the prize she so rightfully deserves. This is a brilliant move on Audi’s part: Even with the cost of the car in behind, they’ve bought themselves immeasurable goodwill and attention. They probably would’ve had to shell out millions to get this sort of advertising!

Oddly, the real Scrooge in all of this still remains Wheel of Fortune. We’d love to see at least some sort of rule tweak for future contestants, or at least the ability to have more nuance in situations where someone is clearly just trying to get the right answer at the last second.

Are you glad that this Wheel of Fortune saga has a happy conclusion?

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