The most common fib of all time may be “I have read and agreed to the terms and conditions” – but this Georgia teacher has just become a prime example of why it actually pays to read the fine print.
Travel insurance company Squaremouth launched a secret contest in which they would award $10,000 to the first consumer who read through the fine print of their contract. They would also use the contest as an excuse to donate an additional $10,000 to a children’s literacy charity.
With details of the prize buried on page 7 of their insurance contract, the sweepstakes was set to last for 12 months – and if no one succeeded in reading the contract, then they would simply ditch the prize and donate to the nonprofit.
They were shocked, however, when 59-year-old Donelan Andrews claimed the prize just 23 hours after the contest started.
For the last 25 years, Andrews has worked as a home economics and consumer science teacher at Upson-Lee High School and Lamar County High School in Georgia. Andrews says that she uses her classes to teach senior students important life skills such as work ethic, how to find jobs, and how to interview – but one of the important skills Andrews emphasizes to all of her classes is the importance of reading a contract.
Andrews had taken out the travel insurance policy in anticipation of going to Scotland with her husband to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary and her upcoming retirement, which she had only applied for one week before she won the contest.
She and her husband will now have more than enough money to finance the vacation after she read the following sentence on the last page of the 4000-word contract: “If you’ve read this far, then you are one of the very few Tin Leg customers to review all of their policy documentation.”
It reminded her of a test question she used to ask her students. Andrews said: “I used to put a question like that midway through an exam, saying ‘If you’re reading this, skip the next question.’ That caught my eye and intrigued me to keep reading.”
The policy then went on to say: “In an effort to highlight the importance of reviewing policy documents, we launched Pays to Read, a contest that rewards the individual who reads their policy information from start to finish. If you are reading this within the contest period … and are the first to contact us, you may be awarded the Pays to Read contest Grand Prize of ten thousand dollars.”
After emailing the company, she received a phone call the very next day saying that she had won.
“Teaching students to read their contracts has always been close to my heart because of my consumer economics background,” said Andrews. “I always read every contract I sign. It really paid off for me this time!”
The company was so impressed by the teacher’s diligence, they also donated an additional $5,000 to each of the high schools where Andrews teaches.
“When we first spoke with Donelan, her dedication to reading and teaching stood out immediately,” says Squaremouth CEO Chris Harvey. “Her enthusiasm inspired us to make additional donations.”
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