Ellicott City mom a winner on `Oprah Winfrey Show'

September 20, 2004|By Sandy Alexander

Kelly Cook of Ellicott City went to Chicago to see Oprah and came home with a new car.

On the season premiere of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired Sept. 13, Winfrey gave boxes to 276 unsuspecting audience members, telling them that one contained car keys.

But, Cook said, even before she fully opened her box, people started waving keys. It turned out every guest would get a new Pontiac G6 as part of a promotion by General Motors Corp.

"I was just floored," she said.

The audience was taken outside to see hundreds of cars lined up in a lot beside the studio. Cook said she thought, "Do I have to drive this car home from Chicago?"

In fact, winners will be ordering their cars from dealers in their hometowns and will get to choose the color and options such as XM satellite radio and sunroofs.

Cook, 38, a stay-at-home mom, said she watches the show every day while she prepares dinner.

"I'm a true diehard Oprah fan," she said. "And after this I'm hooked for life."

Cook said she appreciates that Winfrey has taken her own good fortune and reached out to others. "I love the way she gives back," Cook said.

Other segments of the show involved gifts of money, a makeover and a home for people in need.

Cook was invited to the Sept. 9 taping by a girlfriend who lives near Chicago. Janet Linde, of Ottawa, Ill., saw an opportunity on the show's Web site to write an essay and get tickets to the Sept. 9 taping. Linde wrote about wanting to celebrate her 40th birthday with a trip to see the show. But Cook said her friend did not realize fans were being screened to participate in the giveaway.

Cook said she and her husband, David, who owns a freight forwarding company, had been looking for a new car. They own two sport utility vehicles, including a well-worn GMC Jimmy.

She said they were thinking about something bigger than the G6 for their family, which includes sons Logan, 7, and Henry, 5. But Cook is not going to complain.

"Who couldn't use a new car?" she said.

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