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Looking under the cap pays off for Hagerstown woman

December 02, 2002|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

At 47, Victoria Ross never thought she'd be "forced" to go to the Bahamas for spring break.

A ginger ale bottle cap proved her wrong.

Ross, a full-time student and business owner, won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas when she opened a bottle of Canada Dry ginger ale. She and her husband, John, will take their tropical vacation during Hagerstown Community College's spring break in mid-March, Ross said.

Her last plane ride in 1980 was such a bad experience that Ross said she swore never to fly again.

"Of course, nobody's made me, either," she said.

Until now. Canada Dry promotion officials wouldn't grant Ross' wish to trade her $6,000 trip for cash or sell the trip on the eBay Internet auction site, she said.

But Ross doesn't resent being forced to fly to the Bahamas for her first vacation outside the continental United States, she said.

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"It's probably a good thing," she said. "We need a vacation."

In addition to running her carpet-binding company, Ross attends classes at HCC and plans to transfer to a four-year school to earn her degree in psychology. She's paved her way in life with hard work, and doesn't consider herself especially lucky, she said.

A year's supply of Maryland Lottery tickets yielded her about $30, she said. And Ross has "literally opened thousands of soda caps that said, 'Please try again.' And I try again. I don't want to be the one who didn't win because I didn't look at the lid."

Ross was unaware of Canada Dry's "Resort to Refreshment" promotion during Memorial Day weekend when she bought two six-packs of Canada Dry ginger ale - because they were on sale - at the Giant Food Store on U.S. 40 in Frederick, Md., she said.

During April and May, Canada Dry customers had the chance to instantly win a five-day, four-night vacation for up to four people at Atlantis by looking under the caps of specially marked 20-ounce bottles and two-liter bottles of Canada Dry regular and diet ginger ale, according to information from the company.

Ross said she noticed the word "Win" on one of her six-packs but not the other so she exchanged the second six-pack for sodas boasting the promotion. The winning bottle cap was in that second six-pack, Ross said.

"Even when I won, I didn't know what it meant. A trip to Atlantis? I thought, 'What, are they going to send me to the bottom of the ocean?'"

Curious, Ross called the toll-free number on her soda bottle and listened to a recorded message about her win. She found out that she had won round-trip airfare to the Bahamas and an all-expenses paid stay at Atlantis, which features 2,300 guest rooms, 35 restaurants, bars and lounges, an entertainment center with a casino and sporting activities, and many luxury shops.

Ross and her husband will lodge at the island resort's Royal Towers.

"We get all the food for free, everything except money to gamble," Ross said. "It's amazing."

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