WASHINGTON — Fans of the hit game show "Wheel of Fortune" were not happy this week after a contestant correctly solved the bonus round puzzle, but lost out on a brand-new car because of a technicality. In the end, a car company stepped in with a holiday surprise.
Charlene Rubush had 10-seconds to figure out the correct phrase in the category "What Are You Doing?" She initially incorrectly guessed "choosing the right card."
Rubush then quickly repeated the first three words, "Choosing the right....," before pausing as she tried to come up with the fourth and final word. After about a five-second pause, she said "word" right before the buzzer sounded.
For casual viewers of the show, it would make sense to assume she had won the bonus prize because she successfully deciphered that final phrase within 10-seconds.
However, host Pat Sajak explained that she still lost.
"It's tough because you said all the right words, including the word 'word,' but as you know it's got to be more or less continuous. We'll allow for a little pause, but not four or five seconds," Sajak said, before revealing the prize would've been an Audi Q3.
After the episode aired, fans turned to social media and urged the show to still give Rubush the car.
"Come on @WheelofFortune, the woman literally chose the right word. Give her the car," former "Jeopardy!" champion Alex Jacob tweeted on Tuesday.
Jacob's tweet quickly racked up thousands of likes and retweets. He later shared screenshots of direct messages sent to the game show and to Audi, imploring both to do something.
As the online furor revved up, Audi announced on Wednesday plans to give Rubush the car she narrowly missed out on.
"You're a winner in our eyes, Charlene. Now, let's get you a prize. Time to #GiveHerTheQ3," Audi of America tweeted.
A spokesperson for Audi of America later confirmed to Newsweek that they saw the "Wheel of Fortune" episode and "were collectively disappointed that she missed out on the opportunity to take home an Audi Q3 due to a technicality. So in the spirit of the holidays, Audi of America will be gifting her with an all-new Audi Q3."