02/03/13 — Goldsboro woman wins pickup for second time

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Goldsboro woman wins pickup for second time

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on February 3, 2013 1:50 AM

Most people won't win a car during their lifetime, but Viola Ryals Figueroa has been lucky enough to win two in the past 23 years.

The 45-year-old Goldsboro resident picked up a brand new, dark blue Ford F-150 XLT truck Thursday at Deacon Jones Ford, valued at $40,000.

Mrs. Figueroa was the winner of a contest sponsored by Ford Motor Corp., which she entered last April.

"I got an email from Ford that let you build your own truck," she said. "I went on it and got to pick the color, wheels and all that good stuff. I was just playing around with it because I had had a crazy day. I knew I couldn't afford a truck like that; it was just something to do to help me relax."

When she finished designing her dream truck, Mrs. Figueroa went to Ford's home page just to have a look. And that's when she saw the ad for the contest. She entered, but then forgot all about it because the contest didn't end until the beginning of January 2013.

Then on Jan. 11 -- a day she'll never forget -- Mrs. Figueroa was notified by email that she was the winner.

"Of course I didn't believe it because it was just an email," she said. "I came here and talked to Deacon Jones Ford, but they had never heard of the contest. They called Ford Corp. and they said they were not aware of the contest either."

Mrs. Figueroa became discouraged. But she faxed the information to the Ford headquarters in Michigan, and after several email exchanges, Ford sent the payment for the truck to Deacon Jones Ford on Jan. 25.

"It's so surreal," Mrs. Figueroa said. "Even before I took the truck home, I was excited. I know I'm blessed because this is the second truck I've won, not just my first one."

Mrs. Figueroa won her first truck -- a 1991 Isuzu pickup -- in 1990 while she and her military husband were living in Orlando, Fla. She saw an ad in the local paper wanting contestants for "Let's Make a Deal." She called and went on the show dressed as Inspector Gadget.

She ended up being the big deal winner with a recliner and a year's supply of chicken.

"I was clapping because I had just won a chair," she said. "That was the first thing I had ever won. Then Monty Hall said, 'OK, Miss Viola, you're going for the big deal.' Then they cut to a commercial. I hadn't said I was going for the big deal, but by that time, it was too late."

She chose door number three.

Monty Hall showed her some camping equipment.

"I knew the big deal was worth $10,995," she said. "I'm clapping but am like, 'OK, that's not $11,000.' Then he said, 'Here's something for you to go camping in' and there was my truck. I got it in purple."

Mrs. Figueroa still has that truck.

"My baby will be 22 in October," she said. "I still drive her, too."

She said she'll keep the Isuzu, which is her work mule, but will now drive the 2013 Ford truck.

She's hoping to find a company to wrap her new truck with advertisements about stopping child abuse and neglect, something she's passionate about.

Mrs. Figueroa has worked with Guardian ad Litem since 2005.

"My purpose in life is to help get the word out about stopping child abuse and neglect," she said. "If I can get a company to wrap the truck, that's just the cherry on the cake."

Winning a second truck in her lifetime is a feeling Mrs. Figueroa can't put into words.

"Who would have thought?" she said. "This is just a blessing I can't even describe."

The last time Mrs. Figueroa had to actually buy a vehicle was in the late 1980s.

"I would tell anyone to keep believing," she said. "Things can happen to good people."

And more than once -- in Mrs. Figueroa's case.