Called By Name

Called By Name

“Elaine Crandell! Come on down! You’re the next contestant on The Price is Right!”

I first remember watching “The Price is Right” sometime after I graduated from high school in 1972. I continued watching it on and off over the years, basically whenever it was convenient, when I happened to be at home during the day. I never really dreamed of being on the show until sometime after 1989, when I started working for Delta Air Lines. My travel benefits at Delta opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me and my family.

So in January 2005, my daughter Megan and I flew to Los Angeles for three days of sightseeing and shows.

Now instead of going to bed the night before the show, like a normal person might do, we left the comfort of our warm hotel room and spent the night standing (in my daughter’s case, sitting in her wheelchair) in the cold, in the dark, in downtown Los Angeles, on the sidewalk just outside of CBS Television City studios!

We arrived outside the studio really early, around midnight actually, which made us the third group in line, and pretty much assured us we’d be able to exchange our tickets for a studio admission number at 6:00 a.m. We spent the night trying to keep warm, eating bagels, and talking with everyone around us in line. It was fun but in the middle of the night I started feeling sick and went back to the rental car to lay down. I couldn’t sleep so I got up and got back in line. By the time 6:00 a.m. rolled around, the line had grown around the block and out of sight, and I had a soar throat, 😩 but, we got our studio admission numbers!

We left to go back to the hotel with strict instructions to be back within three hours to get back in another line. We freshened up but were afraid to lay down thinking we might oversleep.

About three hours later, with our admission numbers in hand, we got back in line at CBS Television City. This would be about a three hour process and although we were exhausted, it turned out to be a nice experience. It was here I met a young man who was a previous showcase winner a few years before. He was now working as a student advisor at a college and was back in line on this day with a group of students from his college. We talked for a while about a lot of different things, including my personal testimony of coming to faith in Christ.

Continuing our way through the admission line, we encountered the show producers who were conducting interviews with each one of us, one by one. I noticed they were very personable and were taking notes as they did their interviews. The producer who interviewed me asked me what I did for a living. I smiled and told him, “I make mad people happy!” He laughed and then asked me what I really did. I explained that I was a customer service agent for Delta Air Lines and that I help passengers and agents resolve various problems and issues.

He must have liked my answer.

Within a couple of hours, I heard my name:

“Elaine Crandell! Come on down! You’re the next contestant on The Price is Right!”

I jumped up, screaming, and ran up to the podium. Within a few minutes I got the winning bid on a metal detector and ran up on stage. At this point my heart was pumping and my mind was racing with so many thoughts: “Mercy, those lights are so bright! Do I look sick? Do I need more make up? Do I look like I’ve been up all night?!” Suddenly I found myself talking with Bob Barker and playing The Range Game. I looked back to find my daughter in the crowd and all I saw was what seemed to be everyone telling me to stop. I hit the stop 🛑 button but it was a tad bit too soon!

They cut to a commercial break and whisked me off stage to sign a bunch of legal papers: one giving my consent to be a contestant on a CBS game show, another explaining that I understood that I’d be responsible for any and all tax implications of my prize winnings, and yet another paper that gave me an option to decline any or all of my gifts.

By the time I finished signing all the papers it was time to go back on stage to spin The Big Wheel in the Showcase Showdown. I got a 95 in one spin and won the chance to win a showcase!

During one of the next commercial breaks, a stage manager came up to talk with me. He was nice and talking with him helped calm my nerves. My only regret at this point was that I realized then that I forgot to say, “Hello!” to my family when I was waiting for the Big Wheel to stop.

So then came the chance to win the showcase. Mine was a set of video phones, a Colorado Hot Air Balloon trip, a Colorado ski vacation, and a ski boat. I had no idea how much that ski boat was worth but decided to bid low as I didn’t want to overbid. My mind raced back to a few weeks before when my husband and I were invited to go on a ski boat but we declined because neither of us skied. I suddenly wished we’d gone as maybe the price of it would have came up in our conversations. Oh well, it was too late now.

As it turned out, the ski boat was worth a lot more money that I thought. I underbid my showcase by over $25K and lost to my opponent who also underbid her showcase, but by less.

What a day! All 24 hours of it! We went back to our hotel and as soon as the excitement wore down we both got a nice nap. 😴

A few weeks later I made a T-shirt to remember the experience. I used the photo of my expression when I realized I’d lost the showcase and titled it “The Price was Wrong!” Ha!

In retrospect, so much of what happened was right. I enjoyed and shared a great experience with my daughter. I won a metal detector worth $1100, which I still have. I got to be a contestant on one of the longest running game shows in television history. I got to meet Bob Barker, and I got to share my faith.

In the big picture of life, “The Price is Right” is just a TV game show. My name was called and I won a gift.

More importantly, Jesus knows my name and by faith I’ve already received the gift of eternal life. Life in the here and now, and life in the ever after.

Not because I’m a “good person.” Not because I was baptized or a member of a church.

But because I trusted in Jesus and His plan of salvation one night many years ago, when God lovingly convicted me that I was a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. I responded and called out to Him in repentance and faith, and placed my trust in Jesus alone.

It was Jesus who took the penalty for my sins and paid the price in full on the cross, on my behalf. God, the creator, sustainer, and author of Life, made a way for someone like me, to be redeemed. The Price Jesus Paid is Right, and according to His perfect plan and unfathomable love. It’s for all those He calls to come and follow Him, who will respond in repentance and faith.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1