'I just want them to know that they're loved and appreciated,' local woman shares contest prize with coworkers

Kerri Alumbaugh won free meals for a year from Acorn Grill in Sullivan, Indiana. She chose to pay it forward by sharing her prize with her co-workers at the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.

Posted: Jan 21, 2020 5:28 PM

SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTHI) - By cracking the 'Emoji Code,' Kerri Alumbaugh won free meals for a year from Acorn Grill in Sullivan, Indiana.

Instead of keeping her prize, she turned it into a way to let her co-workers know how much they mean to her.

The restaurant created the 'Crack the Emoji Code Giveaway' earlier this month.

All customers had to do was solve a riddle, and they'd win a free meal for the entire year.

The owner said he was approached by Alumbaugh after she won, with a special idea.

"She had an incredible story to share with me. A story of kindness and paying it forward. When Kerri approached me to pay it forward, it was easy to make the decision to respond to that act of kindness to definitely look out for our local sheriff's department," said Knoepfle.

After enjoying one free meal, Kerri Alumbaugh decided she wanted to give her prize away.

She works at the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.

She said sharing with her co-workers was the right thing to do.

"I wanted to pay it forward not only to the people that helped me solve it, but the people that I love at work, and so I wanted to share it at my work family," said Alumbaugh.

Thanks to Kerri's act of kindness, all 60 employees at the sheriff's office will now be getting a $100 gift card to enjoy.

She said she hopes her work family knows how much they mean to her.

"I just want them to know that they're loved and appreciated. There's so much that happens in this building that everyone doesn't know about, and their hard work goes unnoticed, but I notice it," said Alumbaugh.

Knoepfle said her generosity is something everyone can learn from.

'It's very unique. Most people would've definitely taken the prize and just been happy with that," said Knoepfle.

Knoepfle said it's important to give back all year, and that's why he chose to also help pay it forward.

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