A true story as told to me by my son, Dan...
A free 2013 Ford Fusion? Why, yes, I’d be interested in that, thank you.
It all started with a YouTube video. A thumbnail of one of my favorite stars, Joel McHale, caught my eye, so I clicked it. A National Scavenger Hunt, sponsored by Ford, endorsed by Ryan Seacrest would be held for a total of 47 hours. Forty-seven black boxes were to be placed in forty-seven cities across the nation.
One of the sites would be my hometown of Orlando, Florida. Two clues of its exact placement would be unlocked on the “Random Acts of Fusion” website at a pre-designated time. With those clues, a ‘word of the day’ posted onsite that must be said to the rep in order to win.
The first clue: the latitude and longitude of the Ford representative with the box. The second clue being a picture taken from where he stood. Orlando’s clues would be unlocked on October 28, at 11:15am. The problem? Orlando covers a little more than one hundred square miles, and more than 250,000 people here. The chances were slim, but I decided to try.
October 28. I had rehearsed with my smart phone how to jump back and forth from their website, to my GPS, back to the website. I parked in a location that offered quick access to four of the main thoroughfares branching out into the city. I was set.
11:15am. The clues unlocked and I fed the coordinates into my map. My strategic placement was perfect. I jumped on I-4 and raced to the Princeton Drive exit. I recognized the somewhat blurred view from the photo. The rep stood on the grounds of the Mennello Museum. I arrived and threw my car in park, frantically trying to decide if view was from the far end behind the building or closer to main road along the river. The museum’s grounds covered a couple of acres. Another car came, a little too quickly, into the parking lot. A decision had to be made. Now.
On the footbridge about 200 feet away stood two people. Deciding those were the reps, I covered the ground in record time. I glanced back to the other car, smiling inwardly. I had won! But when I reached the people on the bridge, I discovered they were not Ford reps. Arg!
The occupants of the original car ran the other direction, behind the building. Another car came, and the driver jumped out and ran to follow the first pair. F*ck! I’d made the wrong decision. The rep must be behind the museum.
Since there was only one winner per locale, I knew I’d lost. I glared down at the water, fifteen feet below, and felt like spitting. I leaned on the handrail and looked up at the Spanish moss hanging off the branches of a nearby oak tree. A breeze moved the moss, allowing a full view of the riverbank. A man stood alone under a pergola at the water’s edge, wearing a Ford t-shirt!
I ran off the bridge and took the short cut down the side of the steep embankment, rather than the long way around. Flip-flops should not be the shoe of choice when trying to navigate a wet, grassy, steep decline. I lost my footing then slipped, slid and rolled down the entire fifteen feet. When my body came to a stop I jumped up and tried to run. Still making no traction, my feet slipped beneath me. I ran in place for another few seconds. I knew I looked a grass-stained, bloody fool. I didn’t care.
When I reached the Ford rep, he was doing an admirable job suppressing laughter begging to burst from him. I didn’t care.
“Damn it! I forgot to get the word of the day!” I blurted as I checked the website on my phone. The man did not utter a sound. I found the word after reaching the spot in front of the Ford rep.
“Benevolent!” I shouted.
“Congratulations,” said the grinning man. “You’ve just earned a one in forty-seven chance to win a 2013 Ford Fusion.”
After filling out the required paperwork (which relinquished my firstborn if I should so much as post a reference to Ford on any social media site prior to the drawing on Tuesday), I received the coveted black box. It contained a water bottle, a travel mug, a tee shirt, a thumb drive and my number for the drawing.
The coolest part was the number, printed on a holographic sticker inside a plastic display box upon which mounted a model of the 2013 Ford Fusion. Very cool.Alas, Tuesday’s drawing is done, and my number did not win. Meh. It was still a blast of fun trying.