After receiving nearly 600 contest submissions, Metro officials selected three finalists to enter a money booth filled with cash, provided by Cricket Wireless. The finalists, Ryan Caldwell, of Mt. Airy, Ohio; Jade Kurlas, of Hamilton, Ohio; and Carol Sampson, of North College Hill, Ohio, were the stars of the event on the Fountain Square stage on Aug. 29.
They exited the money machine grasping wads of cash. Sampson, who was celebrating her birthday on Aug. 29, walked away with over $700. Caldwell and Kurlas also grabbed hundreds of dollars.
The contest, which ran from June 16-Aug. 29, 2011, was designed to remind commuters how much money they can save by riding Metro instead of driving. The three winning entries described various uses of the money they save by riding Metro and what grabbing more cash would mean to them.
Ryan Caldwell’s Entry
In Caldwell’s entry she said she would use funds to help buy personal care items, like soap and detergent, for students in need who often secretly go without. “Once their basic needs are met, then they can focus on academics,” she said.
Jade Kurlas’s Entry
Kulas’s entry revealed she was living her dream as a junior at Cincinnati’s School for Creative & Performing Arts. She transports her full-sized cello on Metro’s 42X daily, and she said the money saved would help her buy a second cello that would allow her to travel more lightly.
Carol Sampson’s Entry
Sampson said that the money saved riding Metro would help her buy new furniture to replace what was damaged in a fire in 2010. “In the past year, we have struggled emotionally and financially with bills,” she said.
Other contestants suggested other uses for the estimated $4,500+ they save by riding Metro, such as taking vacations, saving for weddings, paying off college loans, donating to churches and hiring personal trainers.
"This contest was a fun way to remind the public that Metro not only connects people to jobs every day, but we also save the average rider about $4,500 a year. For one full Metro bus, that’s about $225,000 in annual savings," said Terry Garcia Crews, Metro’s CEO.
No public or Metro funds were used for the Money Grab.