Victoria Hospital patient registration clerk Lindsay Sayese was among 20 finalists in the Thanks a Million promotion who received an equal amount. One grand prize winner also received an extra million reward miles.
A faint air of disbelief still pervades the P.A. finalist.
“I’m just quite excited that it was a for-real thing,” Sayese said.
“I’ve never won anything, so it’s like, ‘Wow.’”
As noted in an Air Miles press release, 20,000 reward miles would allow a person to fly from Toronto to New York and back nine times, or enable a family of four to go to the movies once a week for an entire year.
Sayese first received an email before Christmas regarding the promotion and was at first uncertain whether it was real. Deciding it was worth a try, she filled out a form and faxed it back to the sender.
Later, Sayese received an email saying that the form had gone through and that she had won. It informed her that a company representative would soon be meeting with her to give her her prize.
Still, the news did not truly sink in until Sayese happened to check her Air Miles balance while waiting at the airport.
“A couple weeks ago I was on my way to Edmonton and I got an email with … my Air Miles balance, and I was just like, ‘Oh my God!’” she recalled.
“Because my uncle had had a massive heart attack, we were on our way to Edmonton to see him, and my cousin was like, ‘What?’ and I said, ‘Look at my balance!’
“I still wasn’t sure -- is this for real? And then I got an email the other day saying that I’d be interviewed by (the) Prince Albert Daily Herald … and I was like, ‘Oh, this must be real.’”
After the initial shock subsided, Sayese went onto the Air Miles website to see how many miles it would cost to fly to New Brunswick -- where she has family -- and Las Vegas, where she had been planning a trip.
I got an email with … my Air Miles balance, and I was just like, ‘Oh my God!’ - Lindsay Sayese
But Sayese and her husband Dale now have a more tropical destination in mind.
“It’s funny, because at Christmas-time when we had a family get-together at my house here, we were all talking about going to Hawaii next year and renting a vacation home,” Sayese said. “So we’re going to do that in February of 2014.”
A round trip to Hawaii costs 4,650 miles per person.
While a Hawaiian jaunt tops their wish list, it isn’t the only trip Sayese is planning.
“My husband’s never met my two stepsisters and my brother in New Brunswick,” she said. “So I’m planning to take him there too.”
Friends, family and co-workers of Sayese were as startled as she was when they heard about her finalist status in the promotion.
Surprise turned to astonishment when she posted her new Air Miles balance on Facebook.
“When I showed the girls at work, they were like, ‘Really? How’d you do that?’ And I said, ‘Well, I think I “liked” something on Facebook, to be quite honest with you. I think I entered this contest on Facebook, and I got this email … so I decided to try it,’ and everybody was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to do this from now on. I thought it was fake.’”
Sayese’s co-workers weren’t the only ones to pay more attention to online promotions in the wake of her victory.
“Now I’m liking and sharing everything,” the winner said with a chuckle. “And I’m going a little overboard now.”