Last night Wheel of Fortune had its first-ever special needs contestant, Trent Girone, a superfan who immediately won our hearts when solving the first toss-up puzzle by correctly getting "a smashing success." He also charmed host Pat Sajak when he referenced Megaword, a defunct puzzle category that Sajak "hated every minute of."
Throughout his stint, #teamtrent was trending on Twitter. (Naturally.)
Girone has Tourette and Asperger syndromes, and has had nine brain surgeries and an open-heart surgery, according to Good Morning America. He has watched Wheel since he was 2 and appearing on the show was a lifelong dream.
"I love the show and wanted to be part of its history. I thought I would do a great job at solving puzzles," he wrote in a blog post on the Wheel site. Indeed, he did do a pretty good job. He didn't win, but successfully solved some puzzles.
More important, it sounds like he had a great time. "My best advice to future contestants is to relax and have a good time. It is a lot of fun, whether you win big or not. That is my number one guarantee," he said. He also said the entire staff understood his challenges and worked to make him feel safe and comfortable. His one regret is that he didn't get to talk to Vanna White.
Among all the amazing wins to happen on Wheel, this certainly ranks high.
[Image: Flickr user Daniel X. O'Neil]