Have you ever watched an episode of ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and have the puzzle all figured out already, but are extremely frustrated at the participant for not being able to make the correct letter picks? Some of us would have remembered an episode that was aired in the month of November 2015. Wheel of Fortune’s very first Veteran’s Week showcased past as well as present and actively serving members of the military going up against one another armed not with weapons, but their vocabulary and knowledge. In that episode, veteran Nura Fountano started to make some really weird letter choices that saw her lose the round.
In the earlier rounds of the game show, Fountano had already made her pile of money, leading the pack by a considerable margin. However, when it came to the final puzzle whose answer was “Following Footprints”, it did seem as though the Fountano who stood there was a very different person. She began to make some erratic choices with picks of letters that nobody would have gone for under normal situations.
In one instance after her turn at the wheel, host Pat Sajak asked her to choose a letter. Whether the answer to the puzzle was pretty obvious or not, the letter ‘Z’ would be one of the worst possible choices. Fountano decided to go for ‘Z’ nonetheless. Host Pat Sajak was caught unawares, and asked, “Say that again for me? Did you say ‘Z’?!” Fountano, with nerves of steel, responded in a calm manner, “As in Zulu. Z."
What set off alarm bells after that was the choice of the letter “X”, and then missing out on the chance to seize the round by its throat by taking too long to answer the puzzle. Needless to say, with such a performance, Fountano lost that round. The winner of that round? Another fellow veteran and contestant known as Steve who began that round with a mere $1,600. After the round concluded, Fountano was approached by Sajak, "May I ask you a question? You called some unusual letters that round!”
In a classic, nonchalant manner, she replied, “That’s what I saw.” Viewers were no doubt scratching their heads and wondering what’s going on back then. However, others soon realized that the reason behind her actions were to assist Steve in taking home his fair share of money. This altruistic act did warm the hearts of many viewers since then, as Fountano lived out the core of the military, which is “service over self.” Thanks to Fountano’s “generosity”, Steve walked home with a far more respectable $6,400.
I suppose we can all refer to Fountano as the ‘Angel of Fortune’ from now on. However, it must be noted that Fountano eventually won the show due to her overwhelming lead from the earlier rounds, making this a win-win situation for everyone involved. An America was made the richer for all of her actions, providing an all-round, feel good buzz as we remember the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform have performed for the country.