Nov. 17, 2015, was a very memorable day for San Diego State University (SDSU) senior, Sam Lea, but no one else knew this until Feb. 17.
The specific date took no time for Lea to recall because on that day he won $73,000 worth of prizes on the long-running TV show, "The Price is Right." The episode, which aired for the first time on Wednesday, features Lea’s obvious enthusiasm as he took home a boat, several designer accessories and a BMW.
“I kind of blacked out for a moment where I didn’t really know what was going on. I won the car, I won sunglasses and a whole bunch of prizes. For a while I was sitting in the stands after it all happened, not really knowing what had happened,” Lea told NBC 7 on Friday.
There was a three-month span between when the episode was filmed and when it aired, which means Lea had to keep the news of his big TV win to himself.
“I actually didn’t tell a soul for three months because I had to sign a waiver saying I couldn’t tell anyone, which is fair. It was hard for the first month and then I kind of forgot about it. It got hard again once it hit a week before the showing," said Lea.
After all, how does a college student even tell his friends he won more than a year’s worth of tuition?
“I pretty much told everyone to come to our friend’s house around 9:30 p.m. and they had no idea why. I just told everyone it was my day and I deserve this day," Lea said, with a chuckle. "So they came and it aired at 10 p.m. Everyone was surprised."
While his friends are still absorbing the shock, Lea still cannot believe he was even selected for the show. Participants on "The Price is Right" are chosen from the audience with no prior notice. Before the show, audience members are asked basic questions about themselves to screen for potential participants. Those selected to be on the show usually stand out from the rest. As Lea put it, they are usually "different."
“When they asked me who I am, I said, ‘I am Sam Lea, a senior at San Diego State, I’m from San Diego, I’m 21 year old, and I’m a professional winner and a sorcerer on the side.' That’s what I said to get on the show,” laughed Lea.
The Los Angeles-based show is a day trip from San Diego. In an odd turn of events, Lea did not even want to go the morning of the taping. He had worked the night before and was still wearing those clothes when his friend talked him into going.
“My friend Zack woke me up at 4 a.m. saying, ‘We need to go to "The Price is Right,"’ but I was over it. He pretty much pulled me out of bed,” explained Lea.
Now that Lea's time as a TV game show participant has wrapped, he is still waiting for the prizes. In fact, he already has plans for what to do with them.
“Now that this is publicized, if anyone wants to buy my boat, you can buy my boat,” Lea joked, with a serious undertone.
In addition to selling some items, Lea is considering keeping the Apple computer and iPad while giving the Fendi brand accessories to his mom and Rayban sunglasses to the friends who accompanied him to the show.
As for the BMW, Lea said he may keep the car or may sell it, since the high-end prize will inevitable come with steep taxes.
The full episode featuring the local student can be watched online, here.