Wheel of Fortune's jackpot Thursday was a bit more heartwarming than usual as more than $56,000 in prizes and cash went to contestant Arzo Mehdavi, an emergency room nurse in Hayward, California, who has been working on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. If the jackpot wasn't exciting enough, Mehdavi and her family received a virtual visit from Vanna White while watching the episode together on Zoom, the longtime show co-host told PEOPLE.
“If I can bring her any kind of joy for all the hard work and dedication she has given to so many, I would do it a thousand times,” White told the outlet of her gesture. “It’s just overwhelming what they are doing, so it makes me feel so good to give back just a touch. It’s nothing for what they do for us.”
Mehdavi's episode was taped before the coronavirus heavily hit the U.S., so after she won big, Mehdavi got right back to work at a Kaiser Permanente hospital in Hayward, where she works with COVID-19 patients every day. It's this kind of service that White wanted to honor amid these unprecedented times. “I want to thank each and every one of them for their dedication and hard work and putting themselves out there,” she said. “Everyone from the medical professionals, the first responders, the essential retail workers, the delivery people, the restaurant workers, the teachers, just everyone. I’m so grateful that they are there for us.”
Mehdavi told the publication that appearing on Wheel of Fortune has been a bright spot amid a difficult time for first responders. "[Being on Wheel] is such a happy memory for me, and waiting for the show to air has given me something fun to look forward to,” she said. While Mehdavi keeps busy giving back to her community, having served as community services commissioner in her hometown for five years and organizing a donation drive for northern California fire victims last year, she said she's been dreaming of appearing on Wheel almost her entire life."Since I was a little girl playing the board game where you put the paper behind the plastic puzzle board," she recalled.