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Local Wheel of Fortune contestant offering part of winnings to competitor who "won fairly"

Posted at 7:58 PM, Nov 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-25 16:14:15-05

A local San Luis Obispo man who appeared on the Wheel of Fortune Thursday night is offering part of his winnings to a fellow contestant.

Bryan Idler, Vice President of Idler's Home in San Luis Obispo, spoke to KSBY about an incident on the show that had many people going to social media and questioning the rules of 'Wheel of Fortune'.

Contestant Kristen Shaw lost a lot of money on a minor mistake during the "crossword puzzle" challenge. In order to solve a "crossword puzzle" a contestant must list the words that appear in the puzzle. In this case there were four words, "right," "football, "left" and "Sally." Unfortunately Shaw said, "Right, football, left and Sally." Since she included the conjunction "and" she lost.

Host Pat Sajak warned her right before she answered Sajak said, "Most times I caution people not to add anything, and you maybe didn't even hear yourself say it but you threw an "And" in there with the last thing and we have to go by the rules."

After the mistake, Sajak asked Idler for the answer, which he solved correctly, ultimately winning $3,550.

"I believe she did win, so I would like to offer her my winnings from that round which was that $3,550," says Idler, "I would love to offer that to her if she is willing to accept it."

Idler says he came to KSBY in hopes that his offer would reach Kristen Shaw. Shaw is a graduate student who lives in Bangor, Maine. On the show Thursday night she said she is studying clinical mental health counseling and her hobby is photography.

In the end, Shaw left the show with $3,000.

"We talked after the show, I knew she was very upset, obviously it's a rule, and I'm not discounting 'Wheel of Fortunes' rules at all, they have them for a reason, but she was visibly upset, and I would be too," says Idler.

Idler recalled seeing this problem at least once before on the show, he says it's natural, and it "just rolls off the tongue, you don't realize you are doing it, it's a simple mistake."

"I figured I would talk to KSBY, and hopefully she could find me and reach out, I don't know how to reach out to her, so hopefully we can meet up and I think this would be a great thing to do."

Overall, Idler took second place and walked away with $10,550. The winnings are mailed to the contestant four months after the show airs. Idler says he would gladly write Kristen a check for the money she would have earned in the "crossword puzzle" challenge when he receives his winnings in March.

"She obviously knew the puzzle, in the spirit of giving and Thanksgiving I just think it would be the right thing to do, and I think we all need to look out for each other and I think she deserves it," says Idler.