Truman Medical Center chaplain Veronica Fallah heard people in “The Price is Right’s” studio audience urging her to pass the first showcase on to her opponent when she was a contestant on the episode that aired Wednesday.
They didn’t know that Fallah’s husband has family in Australia, and they had been considering a trip there for more than a decade, but never felt like they could afford it. When the first showcase came up and included a six-night trip to Sydney, she wasn’t about to pass on it.
“We’d talked about Australia for a lifelong time — well, for us,” Fallah said. “A little over 12 1/2 years. And I talked about ‘Price is Right’ a lifelong time. ... Then this trip happens to be a part of the showcase.”
Fallah won the showcase and the trip. She also won a kitchen cart with several appliances, a digital keyboard and studio-quality recording equipment, and two cars during an episode of the show, which was recorded in September in Los Angeles.
It was an overwhelming and unexpected windfall, Fallah said. It was also the realization of a dream that began decades ago when she was a young girl in Tennessee, watching the show, now hosted by Drew Carey, with her grandma.
“I said to myself, ‘I’m going to be on that show one day. I really want to be on that show,’ ” Fallah said. “Because I saw how much she loved Bob Barker.”
The dream became real this year during a trip to California to celebrate the Fallahs’ 11th wedding anniversary.
Fallah said her husband wasn’t crazy about going to the game show, but it was a non-negotiable for her. Everyone in the audience is pre-screened to be a contestant and Fallah said she had a feeling she had impressed the producers with her back-story: lifelong “The Price is Right” fan, hospital chaplain, business owner and author.
But it was still surreal to hear her name followed by the studio announcer urging her to “Come on down!”
“I was, like, out of my body,” Fallah said. “I couldn’t believe that it was me. I got up and, if you see the beginning of it, I was running down the aisle to get up front. So nervous, but it was so exciting.”
After a few tries, she got on stage by posting the closest bid on the kitchen cart.
Then, with a Fiat 500 hatchback on the line, she had to sink a putt from a distance determined by how well she ranked the prices of six common household items.
She barely knows how to hold a golf club. So she called in reinforcements.
“I was like, ‘OK Lord, I got to take this golf club and make sure this ball get into that hole,’ ” Fallah said. “God be with me. So I just went up there and swung it one time. It went right in.”
Fallah did a running, dancing celebration worthy of the Davis Cup while Carey congratulated her.
She faced long odds to make it to the Showcase Showdown after another contestant spun the Big Wheel and landed on $0.90. Fallah’s first spin skipped past $0.90 and landed on just $0.05. The second spin reached $0.90, barely, and stopped.
That put her in the showdown, where she won by guessing within $1,300 the $31,298 value of the recording equipment, a Mitsubishi Lancer and the dream vacation that includes a show at the Sydney Opera House.
Her total haul was worth $49,168 and she can take delivery of it all just as soon as she and her husband have paid the taxes on it.
She said there’s one way the man who didn’t even want to go to the show in the first place can even the score once they’re in Australia.
“He needs to save some money so he can just pay for everything while we’re there,” Fallah said. “Because I won the trip, he can pay for the extra expenses.”