I don't think I've ever been more surprised by a television show.

It was just after 7:30 on Tuesday night when I was sitting on my couch trying to relax at the end of a long day. After watching Jeopardy! I had turned my attention to the New York Times crossword puzzle as the television continued to play in the background.

Suddenly, my phone began ringing. It was my co-host, Robyn Taylor. Usually, when Robyn calls instead of texts, especially at night, it's never good news. I cautiously said "hello" but could barely get the words out before Robyn started yelling. "It's Melissa! Melissa Dill! She's a contestant on Wheel of Fortune!"


It took me a while to process what she was saying before I looked up at the television and saw our former coworker staring back at me. Melissa Dill was a long-time receptionist at WPDH where her friendly personality and bubbly enthusiasm made her a joy to work with. Even after all of these years, coworkers who remember her still talk about her love of Bon Jovi.

I don't know if this ever happened to you, but unexpectedly seeing someone you know quite well on an iconic television show without any warning will completely mess with your perception of reality. I'm not sure if it was because I was so tired or completely shocked to see this person that I knew talking to Pat Sajak, but I started to feel a little dizzy. Robyn must have felt the same way because the squeals and sounds that were coming through the phone were almost indecipherable.


After quickly hanging up the phone I rewound to the beginning of the episode so I could see Melissa's chat with Pat. The Hudson Valley contestant proudly announced that she was from New Paltz and talked about her husband, Ben, and son, Zack. Unfortunately, the wheel was not kind to Melissa so she didn't make it to the Bonus Round but she appeared to have the time of her life. Ironically, the only puzzle she was given the opportunity to solve was the word "bankruptcy" which did earn her a couple thousand dollars.

Congratulations to Melissa on getting to not only be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune but being able to do it before Pat Sajak officially retires later this year. What an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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