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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The 374th Services Division is about to unveil a reward program that’ll churn out $22,000 in cash and prizes this month.

Known simply as U, it’s been designed specifically for the Yokota community as part of an Air Force-wide customer appreciation program. Officials here submitted the top plan in Pacific Air Forces among large bases — which triggered an additional $5,000 in funding — but they managed to keep details under wraps in the weeks leading up to Thursday’s debut.

“We’ve tried to create some mystery about it, and it’s been effective,” said Lisa Stevens, marketing director for the 374th Services Division. “We put out very little information on purpose. But if one of us or a base official is wearing anything with a ‘U’ on it, we get questions about it on the street. People are really curious about what it is.”

U was put together in an effort to thank customers who use Services programs and facilities every day, she said. It offers hundreds of opportunities to collect cash prizes from $10 to $250, which will be given away on the spot at various locations throughout the month.

There are three ways to win — and none involve raffle forms, contests or gimmicks, Stevens added.

If people “Find the U” at a Services facility, they can bring it to the cashier or front desk and win $10. Officials disclosed a few tips: It could be on a towel at the Main Fitness Center, in a bowling shoe at Tomodachi Lanes, on a driving range ball at Tama Hills Golf Course or Yokota’s Par 3, or under a tour bus seat or closet door in the Kanto or Tama lodges.

Secondly, on designated “U Days,” customers could be “in the right place at the right time” and pick up cash instantly, Stevens said.

At different Services establishments each morning, managers will receive 11 sealed envelopes. Automated customer counts will reveal the winners based on predetermined numbers. This part of the promotion won’t be held Dec. 24-26 or on New Year’s Eve.

Prize patrols, led by 374th Services Division Director Robyn Sleeth, are a final avenue to prizes. They’ll hit Services facilities all month and pop questions about the campaign.

“If a customer answers ‘U,’ they’ll win,” Stevens said. “The director and deputy will have sealed envelopes inside their pockets with cash. They want to go meet and talk to customers. That’s their way of getting out.”

Officials have purchased 5,500 fortune cookies that will be handed out during weekday lunches at Services food facilities. Five of every six contain discounts and instant wins. Prizes also are available in 1,500 chocolate bars wrapped in special designs.

“This is very different but it’s a really cool program,” Stevens said. “We can’t wait to see customers’ reaction.

Officials are also mailing an Air Force Services Agency Customer Feedback Survey this month to 2,204 randomly selected Yokota community members. Those who return it are eligible for additional rewards and become entered in a Dec. 31 drawing for $1,000.


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