February 7

That Time I Won A Car On TV (Pt 2)

Blog, Cooking, Featured


Check out Part 1 to catch up on my experience winning $6,000 worth of prizes (in the form of two Vespa scooter) on the game show “Let’s Make A Deal”


As I sat in the audience I had the BIGGEST smile of my life. 

It had been 5 minutes into the show’s taping and I had already WON an incredible prize in front of an audience of a few hundred people and millions more that would watch on TV.

My Thoughts:

I just won TWO scooters.  I don’t even know how to drive a scooter!

Maybe I should sell the second scooter.

Maybe I should take lessons.

Maybe I should sell the second scooter and use the money to pay for lessons to drive the first one!

The Game Show Continues

The excitement of the show had peaked (for me), but I still had a fantastic experience watching the rest of the show.

Other people played fun (and weird) games such as

  • A board had 20 car keys on it and only one of those would unlock a new car for the contestant.  The contestant had 2 minutes to run back and forth and try random keys to win the car. (He didn’t win)
  • One contestant messed up a game and won a hat made of nachos (a “zonk” or non-prize)
  • One contestant won a box full of thousands of dollars just by saying “Go” until she thought there was no more money in the box.

There were other games, but the whole thing went by as a blur.

On commercial breaks they would keep the audience hyped by playing EVEN more games and playing loud dance music.  It was like an adrenaline hit that DIDN’T STOP for 2 hours (even though the show on TV is only 22 minutes.)

Towards the end of the show, something odd happened.


The Final Game

The Grand prize of the show (worth $22,000) is awarded to someone who wins the Final Game.

The Final Game is played by a contestant who has won the highest valued prize and is willing to sacrifice it for a shot at the Grand Prize.

The Game is simple:

  1. There are three curtains and each has a different prize, so you’re guaranteed some type of take home gift
  2. Only one curtain has the grand prize.
  3. You choose a curtain (one of three)
  4. Wayne Brady shows you ONE prize you DIDN’T win
  5. You choose a curtain (one of two)
  6. You win the Grand prize or get another prize.

(By the way, I had NO IDEA this is how the game worked.  I didn’t even watch an episode before the taping!)

Wayne went up to a couple who had won the highest earning prize worth $10,000: a weeklong vacation throughout Alaska for two via a luxurious train.

The couple chose to KEEP their prize.

And so Wayne asked me if I wanted to keep the scooters or take a shot at the Grand Prize.

I IMMEDIATELY said I would go for the grand prize.  

I thought, “Well, why not!?  I already won something and I’m going to win something else no matter what.

I rushed to the stage and Wayne explained the Final Game.

Wayne:  “Eric, the $22,000 grand prize is behind one of those curtains, which are you going to choose?  Curtain 1, 2 or 3?”

Me:  (after thinking, dramatically, for a bit)  “Wayne, I’m going to go with…Curtain Number 1!”

Wayne:  “Is 1 a lucky number for you?”

Me:  (with a big smile)  “It will be…after this.”

Wayne:  “You know what I like about you?  Your CONFIDENCE. You are a confident chef.

Me:  Thanks!


And he opens the OTHER curtain

With a dramatic pause, Wayne showed me (and the audience) what was behind Curtain Number 2.

The curtain revealed a $9,000 kitchen set!  Everything a chef could including a new fridge, food processor, knives etc.

“Dang, I would have enjoyed that,” I thought to myself.

Wayne:  You could have used those tools!  So… do you want to stay with Curtain Number 1 or go with Curtain Number 3?

Me:  (immediately) I’ll stick with Curtain Number 1

Wayne:  Alright Tiffany (the co-host) let’s see what’s behind Curtain Number 1

The Car!

My heart raced a thousand times a minute as the curtains opened to reveal…


I had just won the Grand Prize!  A $22,000 Brand New Ford Fusion! (in white)

Wayne:  You won!

Me:  (frozen in shock and excitement)

Wayne:  Go up and sit in your new car!

I ran up to the stage, high-fived the co-host and got behind the wheel of my new car!

The crowd ROARED with excitement and my body felt like it was on fire.

Wayne thanked everyone for coming, congratulated me, and in a few minutes the show had ended.

I was guided out of the room and all the audience members were high-fiving and cheering me on!

The Aftermath

I was still in shock as the producers ushered me and all of the other contestants who won (or lost) a game to an area to sign some legal documents.

I learned that even people who lost a contest and got a zonk still got $100!

BUT, you could only get the prize after the show aired.  It was the end of January and the show would play sometime in mid-May.

The producers explained that if we told ANYONE and word got out, they had the legal right to take away our prize.

We would also have to pay California sales tax (the government ALWAYS gets their cut…even when you win something haha).

I walked away and called my parents, saying they MIGHT want to record the taping of my show in May.  I told them nothing BIG happened…but I was in the front row and you could see me really well.

May comes around

Months later, I actually FORGOT about the taping.  Life went on as usual.

But my facebook blew up one morning in May.

Someone had posted a picture of me with the caption “What is @Eric Horwitz doing on TV winning cars!?”

Word spread like wild fire and everyone I knew was blowing up my phone.

I was at Albertsons buying groceries for a cooking class and someone even recognized me!

It was a great moment, and I would have LOVED to have see my parents’ faces when they watched the show for the first time, not knowing what would happen.

But…I didn’t get the car that day.

In fact, I didn’t pick it up from the dealer until mid-August!

Which was followed by MANY victory laps in my new car.

(and to all those wondering, I was taxed twice.  Once as “earned income” on my Schedule C and again with the 9% sale tax in person)


But….I really liked my silver Prius,  especially for driving around to all my classes!

So I sold the car, in cash, to a buyer from Craigslist.

I invested the majority of the money in my business and put some in savings.

I went on vacation with a friend to Peru for 3 weeks and stood atop Machu Pichu

I took my family to a fantastic seafood dinner in Santa Monica at “Blue Plate Oysterette and ordered EVERYTHING I could to celebrate: dozens of oysters, delicious entrees, sparkling wine and every dessert.  It was AWESOME.

And that was my story of going on a game show and winning the grand prize.

Now, you might be wondering, why did I choose Curtain Number 1?

The answer:  I told myself I would pick a curtain and stick with it NO MATTER WHAT.   I would also choose with 100% conviction.

And somehow.

I was RIGHT.



Chef Eric

P.S.  January was the biggest month of enrichment we’ve EVER had.  Let’s make February a great month too! Join our after-school classes here 

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Eric Horwitz

About LIFT

Eric founded LIFT Enrichment in 2010 because he wanted to help young kids develop their culinary skills so they could make healthy foods for friends and family for the rest of their lives.  He has worked with kids for over 15 years and enjoys their energy and enthusiasm for learning new things.  Eric studied abroad in Italy while at UCLA and discovered a passion for cooking.  

Eric Horwitz, Ceo of Lift

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