What happens when Publishers Clearing House comes knocking and you're not home

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — They flew to Texas from Florida. They had it all planned out.

The flowers. The Champagne. The balloons. And the big check.

The only thing missing? The lucky winner.

The Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol found out the hard way that sometimes it really is better to call ahead when they arrived at a Corpus Christi apartment complex on Wednesday only to discover their sweepstakes winner — Anne Bauman — wasn't home.

In fact she wasn't in the state. The 80-year-old was at a conference in Florida.

With a camera crew and local media in tow, they quickly realized they'd have to improvise. They made a call.

At first they told Bauman she had a flower delivery. She was skeptical.

"Only my family sends me flowers and they know I'm out of town," she replied. "I'm concerned."

But after a couple minutes they spilled the beans: She had won $25,000.

"Oh my God, no," She said. "This isn't a joke?"

Bauman is a member of the Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority’s board of directors. The 11-member board works to provide quality accessible and affordable transportation to riders in Nueces and San Patricio Counties.

Bauman is in Tampa for the 2018 Bus & Paratransit Conference.

Dave Sayer, Publishers Clearing House's executive director, said the delivery by phone is rare.

Sayer said Bauman was selected at random for the large prize.

"We noticed that she has been putting her name in for quite some time," he said. "This time it really paid off."

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