Sceptic now winging to Olympics

By Genevieve Helliwell

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It hadn't been a good week for Ohauiti man Bryce Simpson.

First his car was broken into and valuable possessions were stolen, then he thought he got a prank call from someone last week claiming he had won a trip to the Olympic Games in London.

But his luck had in fact changed - the call turned out to be real.

Mr Simpson was on his way home from Auckland when he got a phone call from someone claiming he'd won a trip for two to the Olympic Games in London.

He wasn't in the best mood and told the voice at the end of the line he didn't have time for prank calls.

"No, don't hang up, I'm from Visa and you've won a prize," the caller said.

Mr Simpson gave the caller two minutes to explain himself before he ended the call. At the end of the conversation, he still wasn't convinced he'd won the trip. "I said I was busy working and didn't have time for pranks but then he went on to explain the prize and at that stage I remembered I had seen the promotion on TV with Valerie Adams but I thought this isn't real.

Then when I got home, I was straight on the net and I saw Visa was running the promotion and I was sent an email but there was no big logo on it from Visa so I was sceptical."

The next day Mr Simpson went to his local bank to verify the prize, which included return airfares for two, accommodation, tickets to four pre-selected Olympic events and a merchandise pack.

"The lady at the counter didn't know anything about the competition and she looked at my accounts but there was no record against my account so she rang the cards department. She was on hold for about 10 minutes and I was about to give up when someone finally answered and they said yes there was a competition running, then the [lady at the counter] was silent for a second then she goes 'oh, you've won'," Mr Simpson said.

"The lady in the queue behind me asked if she could [come along on the trip and] carry my bags."

When the Bay of Plenty Times visited Mr Simpson at his home this week, he said the news had only begun to sink in.

"It's unbelievable, you never hear about people who win things like this. It's absolutely fantastic and we can't wait to go."

Mr Simpson, who works for an agricultural chemical company, will take his wife Julie on the trip to London in July. While abroad, the couple will extend their trip and spend time in Scotland and Ireland and visit family.

The winning purchase was made at shoe store Hannah's when Mr Simpson bought a new pair of running shoes for his eldest daughter Bridget, 11.

"She was doing the Weet-Bix triathlon and she needed shoes to run fast so it's kind of a coincidence because at the Olympics, you run fast," he said.

The promotion, which is still running, entitles anyone who uses their Visa card between February and May to go into the draw to win one of eight trips to the Olympic Games.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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