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How a Strangely-Shaped Cheeto Won a Canadian Couple $27,000

Fires, shootings, assaults.

These have been the subjects of national news headlines in Canada during the past few months and it’s enough to make anyone feel down in the dumps and pessimistic. With all the doom and gloom, we need to appreciate the little things that make us smile, like a contest by Frito-Lay that asked customers to submit photos of oddly-shaped Cheetos worthy of being in the Cheeto Museum. (Yes, it is a real place!)

Dwight and Leverna Parsons were settling in for a typical movie night, complete with snacks. Dwight dipped his hand into a bag of Cheetos and was just about to put the cheesy, crunchy chip into his mouth when Leverna noticed something. “He had it almost in his mouth, and I was like, ‘Oh god, don’t eat it, don’t eat it!’.” Mr. Parsons was on the verge of destroying a Cheeto that resembled a man running with a football. Quick-thinking Mrs. Parsons placed the hilariously-shaped salty treat in a plastic bag, thinking it would be funny to show off to visitors.

A week later their daughter was visiting and having some Cheetos when Mrs. Parsons noticed on the bag that Frito-Lay was having a contest. “We went right online, entered the Cheetos Museum contest, and the rest is history,” she said. Weekly winners for the contest were eligible for a $2,000 prize with the top four put to a public vote for the grand prize of $27,000. After submitting their application online, complete with an image of their chip that they had titled ‘The Running Man’, it did not take long until the Parsons received a cheque for a $2,000 weekly winner prize. Mrs. Parsons claims that she was not even aware she had been selected as a finalist until about a week into voting and that, unbeknownst to her, ‘The Running Man’ had already gained a massive lead, “We had quite a following here because you know Newfoundlanders, we all stick together,” she recalls.

‘The Running Man’ ended up running off with the grand prize. But, as many know, fame comes at a cost. “I said, ‘Oh my goodness, don’t tell me that I’m going to go through life and my legacy is going to be I’m the cheesy lady, the Cheetos lady!’,” she said.

Now and then we need a story like this to remind us that things are not all bad and that silver linings may be hiding in the most ordinary and mundane places. We need to look for the whimsical in even the most unexpected of places. Luckily for Dwight and Leverna Parsons, their funny find had a pretty big payoff.

Emily Rumball

Emily is a freelance writer, blogger, tea addict, and animal lover based out of Vancouver, BC. You can follow her at and @callherem.