Couple wins free trip to Japan from AAFES
August 14, 2006
Getting duped isn’t usually something to be happy about.
But Gaby and Stevie Goins were OK with it on Friday.
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service lured the couple to the Power Zone store at Mainz-Kastel with the prospect of winning a trip to Japan.
The Goinses didn’t know, but they’d already won it.
Unaware of the deception, the couple stood shoulder to shoulder with a handful of bogus contestants who had no shot at winning the $7,000 Great Escape Sweepstakes grand prize.
The Europe-wide contest, sponsored by JVC and AAFES, was held in May, and AAFES verified Gaby Goins as the winner more than two weeks ago.
The Goinses had no idea they were being set up.
AAFES told them two weeks ago that they were contest finalists, Gaby Goins said.
AAFES spokeswoman Debbie Byerly said the ruse of the final drawing was set with the help of Stevie Goins’ co-workers to surprise the couple. Goins works with the Transportation Motor Pool at Mainz-Kastel.
After Gaby’s name was drawn from a box and read aloud, an oversized check with the Goinses names written on it was brought out from behind a display.
Col. Forrest C. Wentworth, commander of AAFES-Europe, then admitted to the Goinses that though there were 10 names in the box, “All 10 names are your names.”
A second prize of a $40 MP3 player was also a ruse, he told the remaining phony finalists. “We just won a trip to Japan,” Stevie Goins said. “That was wild.”
The Goinses can take the trip anytime within the next year, Wentworth said.
The couple suggested they would take the trip next spring.
“We always have a winner that really deserves it,” said Bernardo V. Burdeos, a JVC manager who was at the drawing.
“It’s been over a year since we had a vacation,” Stevie Goins said.