A veteran who competed on an episode of Wheel of Fortune two years ago could’ve easily walked away with a bunch of money, but instead did something that is still being lauded by most to this very day.
Former contestant Nura Fountano was among a trio of past and present military workers who had been invited to participate on the game show for a week-long set dedicated to the Armed Forces in November of 2015, so says Opposing Views. She had done quite well throughout the earlier rounds and made it to the last match-up with odds in her favor to head into the competition’s famed “Bonus Round.”
As hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White revealed both that round’s category, What Are You Doing?, and the 19 tiles that made up the two-worded puzzle, the middle contestant, a man named Troy, was allowed to start off first.
“T,” he requested, which ended up popping up in the puzzle twice.
After his turn, Fountano was allowed to give her first guess.
“Z,” she says, sparking an immediate and confused reaction from Sajak.
“Say that again for me,” he asks in more than one iteration.
“Z, as in ‘Zulu,’ Fountano confirms.
Unsurprisingly, the rarely-used letter does not appear in the puzzle. The two other contestants, Troy and another veteran named Steve, then take their next guesses, adding an “R” and an “S” to the mix.
When Nura is allowed to guress once more, she remains oddly silent, seemingly trying to figure out the puzzle in full. Time runs out and her two opponents take their turns again, bringing up two “N”‘s, a “P,” and a “G.”
“X,” Fountano shouts out during her next attempt to figure out the Wheel of Fortune puzzle. Just as before, however, her peculiar letter choice is not included in the still mostly-hidden phrase.
Things go on like this for a while, with Founano’s two male competitors’ guesses often being correct ones and Ms. Fountano’s final two offerings — a “Z” and another blank stare — not breeding any positive results.
Finally, after the contestant in the first-panel position, Steve, calls for an “F,” which brings up two copies of the consonant as the first letter of each word, he comes up with the right phrase.
“Following footprints,” he exclaims, taking home $6,400 for the guess and making him the second-place winner.
First place, ironically, ended up going to the mistake-laden Fountano, who had garnered about $4,000 more than Steve did throughout the game. When Sajak made his way to the champion after first saying goodbye to Steve and Troy (who picked up $4,300 for the day), he couldn’t help but wonder out loud where her odd letter choices had come from.
“You called some unusual letters in that round,” he inquired Nura.
“Well, that’s what I saw,” she responded.
It was at that moment that Sajak, who has headed Wheel of Fortune since 1981 (White joined a year later), seemed to understand just what he had witnessed.
“Well, that was an unsatisfactory answer,” he quipped, “but she’s not under oath.”
As for what that was exactly, several Twitter users seemed to believe that Fountano, who had already gained quite a lead over her opponents, had purposely faltered her guesses to allow the third-place Steve to add more money to his initial $1,600 Wheel of Fortune bank.
Just saw the classiest move on "Wheel of Fortune." Nura threw the final puzzle to let a fellow military person win it. Much respect.
— Jeremy Pond (@JeremyPond) November 11, 2015
— Retro Rager (@retrorager) November 11, 2015
— Screener (@screenertv) November 12, 2015
Nura Fountano continues to remain mum on whether it was her intention to throw the last round, as have Wheel of Fortune insiders, but it sure is nice to believe that a veteran wasn’t afraid to, for lack of a better phrase, pass the fortune around! What do you think, Inquisitr readers? Share your thoughts in the comments.
[Featured Image by Sony Pictures Television]