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Lily Ramos is a UD nursing student from Southern California.
Lily Ramos is a UD nursing student from Southern California.

Big winner

Photo courtesy of "The Price is Right"

UD School of Nursing student wins Showcase Showdown on ‘The Price is Right’

Editor’s note: On Friday, March 10, UDaily published a story in which Lily Ramos shared her hopes before the televised event.

A University of Delaware junior has been keeping a big secret for months. 

Lily Ramos, a nursing major and soon-to-be world traveler, was the grand prize winner of The Price is Right, appearing on a special college edition of the game show. She taped the episode in Los Angeles,  California, over winter break and watched her national television debut on CBS inside her off-campus apartment on Monday, March 13. 

Ramos, repped UD nursing on the show and gave her program a shout-out in her audition. The Southern California native was one of few college students from the East Coast to appear on the gameshow.

When she heard the bellowing voice of the game show announcer saying, “Lily Ramos, come on down, you’re the next contestant on The Price is Right,” she couldn’t believe it. She thought somersaulting down the aisle would be among the most memorable moments of the show, but a lot of couldn’t-believe-it moments would follow.

After Ramos made it down to contestant’s row, her spot on the show wasn’t guaranteed. She had to bid — without going over — on a series of college-related prizes. The closest bidder gets invited on the stage for more chances to win.

After several failed attempts, Ramos was the closest bidder, estimating a smart white board which she now owns, cost $2,100. The actual retail price was $3,520. That bid won her a ticket on stage to play the Grocery Game, where she had a chance to win $30,000. 

“Oh my God, I need it!” Ramos said while jumping up and down. 

In this game, Ramos was tasked with determining which grocery items were under $5. Every correct guess of an item under $5 adds a zero to the prize total. She correctly guessed a gallon of spring water was less than $5, but then quickly learned she doesn’t spend nearly enough time at the grocery store.

“Who knew spray cheese cost more than $5?” she said. “Are you kidding me?”

She only took home $30 in that game. But her luck hadn’t run out. Ramos made a quick recovery after she was first in her group to spin the “Big Wheel.” As she gave a shout out to her mom, dad, cousins, and roommates, the wheel spun exactly one time around and landed in the best possible spot: $1.00. 

“I was jumping up and down and cheering,” she said. “But because I was first, I still had to watch everyone else take a spin before I knew whether there would be a spinoff. I was cheering everyone on, but secretly I was hoping they wouldn’t land on $1.00.”

No one else was that lucky. That spin won Ramos $1,000 and a trip to the Showcase Showdown.

“It was like a rollercoaster of emotions,” she said. 

During the Showcase Showdown, she competed against a student named Donovan from the University of California, Berkeley, who had already won a MacBook Pro and $10,000 in his time on the gameshow. 

“Off-air, he told me: ‘May the best person win,’ ” Ramos said. 

Because he was the bigger winner, thus far, Donovan got the first chance to bid. He selected the showcase that included a new dorm-style kitchen, $3,000 in cash, and a brand-new 2022 Nissan Altima SV. Ramos wanted that showcase. 

“I don’t have a car right now, and I have to carpool to clinicals, so having a new car would have been really nice,” she said.

But Ramos’ prize was nothing to sneeze at. Her showcase featured trips to South Africa, Rome, and Washington, D.C. The closest bidder without going over the price of the showcase wins. She estimated her trips would cost $24,800. 

“I figured each trip was at least $8,000,” she said. “My birthday is on the 24th, and eight is my favorite number, so that’s how I came up with $24,800.” 

In the moments that followed, Ramos was both nervous and excited. 

“I just kept thinking it would be insane if I won,” she said. “I’ve never really won anything before, and I hadn’t won as much as I had wanted to in my game, so this was my last chance to win something.” 

The actual price of Ramos’ showcase was a whopping $46,200, meaning she underbid by more than $20,000. But Donovan overbid by $322, bidding $32,300 for a prize that cost $31,978, giving Ramos an unusual path to victory. 

Even game show host Drew Carey couldn’t believe it. 

“Lily, congratulations! Donovan, that’s a tough loss,” Carey said. “Well, Lily just won even though she was off by 20 grand. She just won $50,845, including an amazing showcase.”

Ramos was exhilarated.  

“I was jumping up and down again, and they let my friends come on the stage, and we were all hugging,” she said. “I haven’t gotten to go on many vacations in my life, and I’ve always wanted to travel so this is huge.”

Ramos, whose only international trip has been to Mexico, said she plans to take the trip to South Africa with her lifelong friend Kevin, who convinced her to audition for the show in the first place.

“I feel bad that he didn’t get on the show, so he’ll go on the South Africa trip with me; there’s a safari included in that trip,” she said. 

She plans to visit Rome with her mom. 

“I’ve never been on a real vacation with my mom, and I feel like she deserves it,” Ramos said.

Ramos said travel will give her a global perspective and make her a better nurse. 

“Even in my experience as a nursing student, you encounter people from different cultures as patients, and for many, English isn’t their first language, so being able to travel to Italy and South Africa will expose me to different cultures and values and help me better understand and treat my patients,” she said. 

As part of her winnings, Ramos also took home $1,030 in cash.  

“That money will go towards my books and food,” she said. “I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to put UD nursing on the map for a national audience and to win was just amazing. It was definitely one of the coolest experiences of my life.” 

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