Thursday, July 5, 2012
Chickamauga residents Charles and Janice Gallaher forgot they had entered the Olive Garden Sweetheart Sweepstakes last Valentine’s Day until the couple received an email almost a year later explaining that they were the grand prize winners.
“When Olive Garden sent an email that we won I didn’t believe it because it had been a year later,” Charles Gallaher said. “The email said we only had five days to respond and asked for my Social Security number. I told my wife, ‘We’ve got to check this out.’”
Despite their feelings of disbelief, the email was real. The two will be flying to Rome in September, where they will explore rich history, architecture and enjoy authentic Italian cuisine for their romantic getaway. According to the Olive Garden website the grand prize includes an eight-day trip for two to Italy including airfare to Rome, hotel, train transportation from Rome to Florence, $1,200 for meals, a tour of a local attraction and $3,606.30 in spending money. The average retail value is $12,156.30.
The Gallahers said they have never won anything like this before and are very excited about their upcoming trip of a lifetime. They will be touring the Vatican for the local attraction included in the prize.
“It still doesn’t seem real even though I’ve seen the plane and hotel reservations,” Janice Gallaher said. “We’re looking forward to just being able to see the cities and travel outside of the United States.”
Charles Gallaher said he was unaware there even was a sweepstakes until he returned home and looked at the receipt. He said he thought it was worth a try but never thought twice about it.