Tacoma woman gets $40,500 in animated 'Wheel of Fortune' win
The TV footage was almost two months old, but the fist-pumping squeal from Tacoma’s Devan Lawrence looked fresh enough. It’s hard to contain the joy of winning $40,500.
Lawrence, a winning contestant on TV’s “Wheel of Fortune,” finally got a chance to see herself Friday night, though she’d known the outcome since April 3, when the show was taped in Portland.
Her family and friends rented the TV theater at the Varsity Grill in Tacoma and hooted at every moment. Her co-workers at Nordstrom, knowing Friday was broadcast day, chanted the show’s opening cheer (“Wheel … of … Fortune!”) when she arrived for her shift.
“I’m so embarrassed,” she said in an interview Friday. “I never got to see it until now, until tonight. I don’t really remember even calling letters.”
She was stuck in second place for most of the show, but a little run of puzzle-solving and unlucky spins by fellow contestants opened the door for a comeback. She won the game’s toss-up contest with a quick guess on a local landmark (Mount Hood). That was worth $3,000. Lawrence danced a happy dance. The final round was another quick guess. The phrase was “LET’S CALL IT A DAY.” That solution pushed her into first place with $10,500, and sent the other contestants packing.
The final puzzle was a seven-letter word. It started with BL and ended with ER. Lawrence sang out a guess: “Blogger.” That was it. Longtime host Pat Sajak revealed a card with the final prize: an additional $30,000.
On the broadcast, Lawrence’s family members and friends swarmed her as the studio music played.
“I don’t remember that, laughing and dancing, I don’t remember that at all,” she said.
She said she plans to be smart with the money. She’s still figuring out the cut from taxes.
She has toyed with buying an 1980s Volkswagen camper. The one luxury she’s set on is an iPhone.
“I’ve never had an iPhone in my life,” she said. “But other than that I’m gonna save it. I’ve got a car that’s paid off. For now I’m just gonna be smart with it, put away at least $20,000 in an account I can’t even access.”