When Lindsey Lanzisero called her husband at work last week, he thought he was finally about to be a father. With his wife due to deliver their first baby within the week, restaurant manager Peter Lanzisero rushed across the Galleria's Grand Luxe Cafe to the phone, sure that tonight was the night they'd have a new addition to their household. He was right--but it wasn't a baby his wife would be bringing home. It was a 1984 Rolls Royce Corniche, part of a "customer appreciation" prize night hosted by a local home financing group.
"He got the call over the headset that he had an emergency call," said Lindsey, who was on a stage at the Studio Movie Grill in Addison accepting her prize while a friend called Peter. "He said, 'She's in labor, isn't she?' My friend said, 'No, she won the car!'"
The Rolls Royce was part of a "customer appreciation" evening sponsored by Home Marketing Services Inc., the company fronted by local commercial celebrity and company founder Bob Lovell, who commands his viewers to "stop making the landlord richer." Local TV fans recognize Lovell for his catchphrase "Bless your heart," which means, more or less, "you dumb [expletive]," used for people still renting instead of owning. The Lanziseros, who are both 25, say they used HMS to finance their new home in Cross Roads, outside Little Elm, and Lindsey went to the customer appreciation event last Tuesday on a whim. Peter Lanzisero couldn't get off work for the event, but someone had to be present to win.
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Standing in front of the stage, belly bulging, Lindsey says she thought, "there's no way we're going to win anything." But then, when her ticket number was called out for the car, "I proved myself wrong, I guess!"
The convertible luxury car is worth about $75,000, according to Lovell, who decided to give it away because he drove it so infrequently. "It's not fair for a car like that to sit," he said. "If you are going to give something away and truly just give it, give something that means something. I loved that car."
Of course, a Rolls Royce isn't the type of vehicle in which most families want Cheerios, grape juice and teething rings strewn across the backseat. "It's not exactly a baby friendly car," said Lindsey, who added that she and her husband plan to sell the car and start a college or retirement fund rather than keep it for a Sunday driver.
"We knew that a lot of clients might not have use for a Rolls Royce in their neighborhood," says Lovell, whose mechanic had a couple of buyers lined up for the vehicle. He was particularly glad to see a soon-to-be mom win the car. "The nickname for my car has always been 'Baby.' Baby wins!" --Andrea Grimes