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Here's Why Everyone's Mad at "Wheel of Fortune" Right Now

Contestant Charlene Rubush lost a car due to a surprising rule.

You might assume that all a contestant needs to do on Wheel of Fortune is solve the word puzzle, but as one recent player learned, they have to follow some subtle rules while they do it, otherwise they won't win. On the Tuesday, Dec. 21 episode of the show, contestant Charlene Rubush made it to the end of the game and was hoping to win even more in the bonus round. But, even though she figured out the correct answer to the puzzle, the way in which she answered meant that she lost out on a brand new car.

Fans who watched the episode couldn't believe that Rubush lost the prize on a technicality that they'd never heard of. But, there is a happy ending to this story for Rubush, thanks to the company behind the car she almost won. Read on to find out what happened.

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Rubush got the answer right but timed it wrong.

After winning in the main game, Rubush made it to the bonus round where she had to guess the phrase "choosing the right word." She first guessed "choosing the right card." When that was wrong, she said, "Choosing the right…" and paused for a while before blurting out "word." Rubush said "word" before the buzzer went off, but host Pat Sajak explained that contestants have to say the complete answer all together.

"You know, this one's tough because you said all the right words, including the word 'word,'" Sajak said. "But, as you know, it's got to be, more or less, continuous. We'll allow for a little pause, but not four or five seconds. I'm sorry, you did a good job in getting it, but we can't give you the prize." Upon opening up the prize card, he added, "And it was the Audi."

Viewers were not happy.

In response to Rubush losing the car, some Wheel of Fortune viewers voiced their annoyance on Twitter. One Twitter user wrote, "She was right! For Pete's sake, #WheelofFortune — make it right. Some of us who have been watching you for decades are DISGUSTED!" Another tweeted, "#WheelofFortune You know what?! I'm gonna take a long pause from wheel of fortune…"

Someone else added, "Hey, the lady on #WheelofFortune solved the puzzle in time. It's unfair to not award her the prize. Do the right thing and give her the car which she rightfully won." Another user posted, "That was messed up!!!! She should've won. We/they knew what she meant. #wheeloffortune."

Other contestants had enough time to restate their answer.

In response to Rubush's situation, someone posted on Twitter two clips of instances in which contestants paused for too long while giving their answers, leading Sajak to prompt them to say the entire sentence again. In these situations, there was still enough time before the buzzer for Sajak to ask the contestant to say the entire answer and for them to say it before time was up.

Audi responded to the outrage with a gesture.

In response to the outcry from fans, Audi decided to track down Rubush to give her a car directly. On Dec. 22, Audi reposted a tweet containing the video of Rubush losing the car, and wrote, "You're a winner in our eyes, Charlene. Now, let's get you a prize. Time to #GiveHerTheQ3"

Then, several hours later the company tweeted, "There's no community like the Audi community. With your help, we tracked down Charlene! More to come as we help #GiveHerTheQ3."

In additional tweets responding to other Twitter users, Audi further confirmed that Rubush would be getting a car. In response to someone who wrote, "@Audi thanks for taking the wheel and giving Charlene the car prize!!!! #GiveHerTheQ3," Audi tweeted, "It's our pleasure."

RELATED: See Pat Sajak's Daughter, Who's Joining the Wheel of Fortune Family.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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