Meet Natalie Bostelman, Million Dollar Winner and PCH Ambassador
Interview with Publishers Clearing House Millionaire and Ambassador
Not many people have won a million dollars. Not many people have given away a million dollars, either, but sweepstakes expert Sandra Grauschopf had the pleasure of interviewing Natalie Bostelman, one of the very few people who has done both.
Natalie Bostelman won a million-dollar SuperPrize from PCH.com in 2008. The PCH SuperPrize Giveaway is an ongoing sweepstakes that awards prizes of a million dollars or more on a regular basis. There are many different ways to enter including playing games, submitting an entry form through the PCH website, and other entry methods.
Natalie's winning entry was made through PCH Search and Win, which gives entrants the chance to win Publishers Clearing House's million-dollar prizes as well as smaller prizes, just for searching the internet.
Two years after her big win, she became a PCH "Goodwill Ambassador" to share her experiences with the public. She joined the PCH Prize Patrol to award a million-dollar prize to lucky winner Marilyn Ragin.
Here's what she had to say about her experience. If you end up winning a SuperPrize yourself, these tips may come in handy!
Meet PCH SuperPrize Winner Natalie Bostelman:
In 2008, Natalie Bostelman was working four different jobs to make ends meet. She entered PCH's SuperPrize giveaway in her spare time, mostly for stress relief. She daydreamed about winning a huge jackpot, but she didn't really believe that her entry would be chosen from among the millions of other people entering.
Sandra: How did you find out that you were a million-dollar SuperPrize winner?
Natalie: I got a letter a day before saying that I had won at least $1,000 from Publishers Clearing House. So I told my sister-in-law that I had won a thousand dollars, and she said, 'Oh, isn't that funny, you'll probably win the million dollars. Wouldn't that be funny?" Then she invited me over for pizza the next night. After Publishers Clearing House surprised me at work, she called up and asked, "Do you still want pizza for dinner?" She thought maybe I'd want caviar now. But no, I still wanted pizza!
What It's Like to Find Out You're a Million-Dollar PCH Winner
Sandra: So how did the PCH Prize Patrol spring the big news that you were a SuperPrize winner?
Natalie: As when we awarded the million-dollar SuperPrize to Marilyn Ragin, I wasn't at home, so PCH tracked me down using the internet. They learned where I worked from my MySpace page and called me claiming they were from UPS and that they had a package to deliver to me.
I was a little suspicious because I'd received the letter from Publishers Clearing House, but I was trying not to get too excited. My stomach was already flip-flopping around.
So they arrived at my business and surprised me with the big check, the champagne, the flowers and the balloons. I fell down on the ground and screamed like a fool. If you won a million dollars, you'd do the same thing!
By the way, you can watch a video of Natalie's win on YouTube.
This Wasn't Natalie's First Lucky Win!
Sandra: Did you enter sweepstakes before you started using PCH Search and Win?
Natalie: Every now and then, I'd see sweepstakes and enter them. My family won a Volkswagen Beetle in a high school raffle, and I won a trip to New York to meet with MTV VJs in a Monster.com dream job sweepstakes.
Was Winning a Million Dollars a Positive Experience for You?
Sandra: Now and then, you hear stories about people who win the lottery, then end up worse off than before. Were there any unexpected complications after winning a million dollars from PCH.com?
Natalie: Overall, it was a really positive experience, and no one came out of the woodwork to say I owed them money or anything. I did have one person who called asking if I could lend her money, but overall, it went perfectly smoothly. We were able to pay off some debts, build our dream home, and do some investing and saving. It's been a really nice windfall.
Natalie Bostelman Became the First PCH.com Goodwill Ambassador
Sandra: So, how did you become a PCH Goodwill Ambassador, and what exactly does it mean?
Natalie: Well, Publishers Clearing House seemed to enjoy my personality and how I loved telling everyone about my winning experiences. Plus, I think I'm the first person to win a SuperPrize from PCH Search and Win. So they approached me and said they'd like me to help promote their online sweepstakes by posting on Facebook, doing some blogging, and helping to hand out some of the winning checks.
We're hoping that I can help more people see that winning really can happen. We just awarded a $10,000 check to someone who's been entering for 20 years. She couldn't believe she had finally won.
Natalie Awarded a $1 Million Prize with the Prize Patrol on 2/25/2010
Sandra: Can you tell me what your day with the PCH Prize Patrol was like?
Natalie: We were late getting into Miami because of storms. So we were all planning on meeting and talking, but I didn't even get in until 12:30 at night, and we were supposed to be on the road at 8:30 in the morning! In the morning we met with our crew: a photographer, the news crews that wanted to follow us along, and the team of TLC's I Won the Lottery was there to cover the story.
We did a quick drive-by of the winner's home, just to see if anyone was home. We saw that there was a car there, and we surprised Marilyn's husband, who was baking a sweet-potato pie. I had some of that sweet-potato pie later, it was delicious! He told us that Marilyn wasn't there, that she was attending a sewing class down at her church. So he got dressed real quick and jumped into one of our cars and directed us to the church.
They were having a luncheon, so we walked in with the cameras, the flowers, the big ol' check, and everything, and everyone was staring at us like, "What's going on?" We said we were looking for Marilyn, and Marilyn jumped out her her seat with her arms spread open and was looking at the sky like, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" She was so joyful. She started tearing up, I started tearing up. She was just so wonderful.
It was really nice to meet everyone who was with her. Her church is a big part of her life. She introduced us to her senior citizens' sewing group, which was fun because I like to sew, too. You could tell that she really loved her community, so it was great to award a prize to such a great woman.
After that, we had to head right to the airport to go to Columbus, Ohio to deliver a $10,000 prize to another winner the next day. I didn't even get to go to the beach, but it was great to award a prize to someone from my home state.
Natalie Bostelman's Advice for Other Big Winners
Sandra: Do you have any tips for other big winners on handling the shock of winning such a huge prize?
Natalie: I told Marilyn Ragin to take some time off to rest and to be with her family. And I told her she might want to screen her calls. Almost all of them will be good news and congratulations, but that's a lot to deal with in the first two days.
Sandra: Thanks so much to Natalie Bostelman for taking the time to answer my questions about her wins and about her experience with the PCH Prize Patrol!