This is the story of an unlikely game show savant.
It started with an out-of-nowhere spot-on guess on the price of a Nintendo 3DS game system.
Theresa Dark, a 21-year-old York College senior, had landed in Contestant's Row on the game show "The Price Is Right," and her $600 bid was a portent of good things to come.
Dark won $500 for getting the price exactly right and a trip up on stage with host Drew Carey on an episode that aired Thursday.
"I got it right on the nose," Dark said. "It was crazy!"
On stage, she played the "One Away" game with the possibility of winning a new Chevy Sonic.
"I freaked out," said Dark, a Sovern, Md., resident, of seeing the car.
Tasked with having to guess whether each of five digits in the price of the car was high or low, Dark got only three right.
Don't feel bad for her just yet.
Because minutes later, with a group of friends cheering her on from the CBS Television City, Hollywood, audience, the sports management major was facing that most cherished of pop culture icons.
Dark was first up to spin the Big Wheel. It beep, beep, beeped until resting on $1.00, giving Dark a $1,000 prize.
"Surprisingly, the wheel wasn't that heavy. It might have been an adrenaline rush," Dark said.
As if not satisfied with the rare perfect spin, Dark landed on the 5-cent green space on her bonus spin.
Add $10,000 to her winnings.
For those of you following at home, that's $11,500 in prize money for two spins and a correct guess on Nintendo gear.
Dark, who said her family has been struggling some financially, said her dad heard the news of her winnings and replied, "This is the answer to our prayers." She'll be using it to help pay tuition, she added, so don't look for some wild spending spree.
Still, her dominating performance on "The Price Is Right" wasn't done yet.
Showcase Showdown: On the show's final portion, the Showcase Showdown pits two contestants against each other to see who can most closely guess the price of a glamorous prize package without going over.
Dark, who went first, chose to bid on a package that included two bikes, a trip to Italy and a 2013 Honda Accord.
Hazard a guess on how much that might cost? Dark went with $32,364.
"It just kind of came out of my mouth," she said with a laugh, adding her friends gave her the idea.
After the other contestant bid, Dark got the news from Drew Carey that her bid was off by about $7,900.
On most episodes, that's a death knell. But this was Dark's day.
The other contestant was off by about $8,200.
Dark had just won the Showcase Showdown.
In total, the girl with the "Take Me!" T-shirt just hoping to get on the show ended up with more than $52,000 in cash and prizes.
She'll end up paying about $8,000 in taxes and fees, but it's a life-changing day.
A day that happened during filming in late August, mind you. Dark had to keep her winnings a secret, as required by show producers, until the episode aired on Thursday.
As she watched the episode, Dark said she "looked ridiculous" and laughed at her facial expressions.
"This is like a dream come true," Dark said.
- Reach Andrew Shaw at firstname.lastname@example.org.