Persistence pays: Columbia resident wins $20,000 from Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes
When Charles Vineyard, 71, opened the door to his home Thursday afternoon, he was greeted by the "Prize Patrol" who handed him a check for $20,000 from Publishers Clearing House.
After sneaking toward Vineyard's backyard, one of Vineyard's neighbors, who was in on the surprise, knocked on his door.
They waited a few minutes, and no one came.
They knocked again, and eventually, Vineyard answered.
After so much anticipation, the Prize Patrol made up of Howie Guja and Loren Williams, surprised Vineyard with balloons, a bottle of champagne, and a comically large check for $20,000. His neighbors were in on it and congratulated him on the surprise too.
The first thing Vineyard said in response was, "That'll be nice." He truly was in shock.
Vineyard said he played many of PCH's free-to-play games for hours daily to relax, ultimately leading him to win the large prize.
Publishers Clearing House, the prize giver, is a leading interactive media company that offers different products and services to customers, including prizes ranging from $1,000 to $10 million.
"I've actually won a couple of $100 before, but I've never won this much," Vineyard laughed.
He said he plans on using the money on the house and car repairs. He also planned on spoiling his grandchildren, too.
"I saw your records," Guja said, "you've entered a lot."
"I have persistence," Vineyard replied. Well, persistence pays off.
Vineyard repeated thank you several times, still not entirely processing what just happened.
"When I see the balance in my checking account, then it'll seem real," he said.
It is no secret that the Prize Patrol took Vineyard by surprise.
"We show up unannounced; we don't give people a heads up," Guja said. "Even though people are surprised, they usually know what's going on by the time they get a look at us."
Having the opportunity to surprise people with this kind of gift is fantastic, said Guja.
"The job is really exciting. The winners are announced to us just days before, so you immediately have to book a flight and figure everything out along the way," Williams added.
"I go from state to state just giving away money ... and I love seeing the look of surprise on their faces," Guja admitted.
Traveling from state to state every week might be challenging, but Guja and Williams make it sound like it is all worth it.
"I've got to go in and show my wife," Vineyard said. "She'll probably ask how much I think I'm getting because she'll be the one who gets it all," he laughed.
Toriana Williams is a freelance writer for The Daily Herald.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Herald: Columbia resident wins $20,000 from sweepstakes, persistence pays off