Winning the prize of your dreams would usually make someone excited and happy, but sometimes it can also disappoint in a big way.

One of my well known traits is eating lots of pizza. It always has been, and God willing, it’ll continue to be for a long time to come.

One of my hobbies is visiting pizza restaurants I’ve never been to. Every time I try somewhere new, I’m overly excited at the culinary possibilities, hoping it’s the best pizza I’ve ever had.

Back in the early 90’s, I visited a new family run restaurant that had just opened in Tucson, Arizona. I’m always happy to support small businesses over a chain restaurant, so the place already had good bonus points. It appeared to be a decent restaurant in an upscale location. It was clean with nice decor and walking in, the owners were right there to greet customers. So far, so good!

As part of their grand opening, they were holding a drawing to win a free large pizza each week for a whole year.

I filled out the entry form and dropped it in the box with great glee. I was excited at the chance to win free pizza for a year. Pizza is about as good as gold with me, so winning this would be like hitting the jackpot.

After filling out the entry form and placing our order, my friends and I were anxious to try the new pizza. Then it happened.

The pizza was nasty.

I don’t think we even finished it.

Keep in mind, even bad pizza is usually still okay because it’s pizza, but in this case, not so much. It was just bad in a way I’d never experienced before. We left highly disappointed and didn’t think much of the place again.

A few weeks later I got a phone call.  I won the drawing.

It’s difficult to explain how conflicting the feelings are when someone says the magical dream-like words “you’ve won free pizza for a year”, yet you know the prize is very underwhelming. Despite my feelings, I graciously accepted the gift of free, albeit nasty pizza.

Maybe a month or two later, we decided to go back to try the place again.

I thought maybe the first time was a fluke, so a second chance was in order. Nervously, I went back with my friends. We ordered a pizza and waited.

When it arrived, it looked okay, but the taste was no different.

It was still nasty.

Oh, the irony of my life. I was lucky enough to hit the biggest jackpot of my life, then boom. Epic failure. I was heartbroken. Once again we left disappointed, surely not to return, even with the enticing lure of more free pizza.

As a few more months went by, I drove past the restaurant one day and saw it was closed. For whatever reason (perhaps the nasty pizza?), the place was out of business.

This upset me.

Even though I had no intention of returning to the place, what if I DID want to?

I was so mad at this because they gave me free pizza for a year.  It’s the mere principal of the matter. They never reopened and I’m sure my complaint would have fallen on deaf ears if I told anyone about it.

I was out of luck.

I’ve never been lucky enough to win anything similar since.

If I ever do win pizza for a year again, I just hope it’s somewhere good.