PITTSBORO, NC (WTVD) -- Now that Tuesday evening's episode of Wheel of Fortune has aired, Michael Rodriguez of Pittsboro can breathe a sigh a relief.
"We can now discuss it and celebrate," Rodriguez told ABC11.
The husband and father of three, who also owns a Subway restaurant, said his wife put the idea of going on the show after several weeks of watching the show.
"I got an email saying 'come on in to Raleigh, we're having tryouts,'" he said. Weeks later, Rodriguez received an acceptance letter saying he had made it on the show.
Rodriguez's wife gave birth to their third child the day before the tryout.
"My wife sent me and said 'go ahead and do it,'" Rodriguez said.
The day of his flight to Los Angeles to tape the show, Rodriguez worked until the late morning.
"Once I got on the plane, I tried to get out of work mode just for a minute," he recalled. "I just read. Keeping my mind fresh on letters and letter combinations. Doing a little bit of crosswords."
EXPECTATIONS WERE LOW
Rodriguez confessed he didn't have any expectations of winning. He did, however, want to at least win a vacation out of the experience that he could take his wife on.
"I never take a vacation, being a small business owner," Rodriguez said.
That may have to change - in total, Rodriguez won trips to Switzerland, Austria, and Bavaria.
"I've already had three or four people come in today to tell me how beautiful (the countries) are," he said.
WHAT A FEELING
Rodriguez eventually won enough puzzles and money to make it to the bonus round. Prior to the commercial break, he selected the "phrase" category and chose C, H, P, and A."
As Vanna White revealed the letters, Rodriguez tried to contain his excitement.
"Once I knew that I know, I was ready to erupt," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez guessed correctly.
"THAT ABOUT WRAPS IT UP," read the solved puzzle. Rodriguez was incredibly excited with the outcome.
"Sure glad that my brother was there. He almost tackled me to celebrate," Rodriguez said.
In total, Rodriguez's winnings were valued at $52,243, which included a Mini Cooper he won during the bonus round.
"I have a family of 5. We have 3 car seats," Rodriguez said. "We will see! Of course, the kids want to keep the car."
By the numbers, Rodriguez's winnings translate to close to 17,000 turkey subs, over 100,000 cookies, and nearly 30,000 kid's meals at his Subway location.