Tuesday, April 13, 2021

HUUUGE Part 3: The Spree

Cosmos were chilled by pouring them through an ice sculpture in the shape of a martini glass.

Cosmos were chilled by pouring them through an ice sculpture in the shape of a martini glass.

By Natalie Strom

We barely had time to recover from our “Cruise with Huge” before Duffy and I headed back to Miami for the $1,000 shopping spree she also won after purchasing a KIA at the Fucillo KIA dealership in Cape Coral. Only two days after coming back from a five-day cruise a la Fucillo, we found ourselves checking in to the Hyatt Regency in Miami for a dinner with Billy and Caroline and a shopping spree.

To be honest, Duffy and I knew we weren’t fully recovered from our ultimate cruise experience. We had way too much fun! Although, I must say, it was well-deserved. We are hard little worker bees and were lucky to have the chance to go on a free cruise. But we may have permanently damaged our livers…

Either way, we cruised down the Tamiami Trail in her new KIA Soul ready to see our “Huuuge” buddy Billy for the last time. After three articles of practically praising the man that some people find to annoying in his commercial ads, I finally have one negative thing to say about our experience.

I hate Miami.

We are so fortunate to live on a small, slow-paced island where we don’t have to face confusing signs, twists and turns and sky-high highways that offer nothing but confusion. I promised Duffy I would drive once we reached the Seminole Casino since she was nice enough to once again take me along for the ride. We made it, but not without a lot of cursing on my part.

Obviously, I wasn’t very familiar with the handling of Duffy’s Soul, but it was a nice size and easy to maneuver. I still hate driving in Miami, though.

The hotel was beautiful and the staff was courteous. Our room was clean and comfortable with a beautiful view of the city. Somehow we

Never ones to miss out on a good photo opportunity or a good time!

Never ones to miss out on a good photo opportunity or a good time!

were lucky enough to score the Penthouse floor which is clearly why our room was so fantastic. We also had a breakfast bar at the end of our hallway that offered coffee, water and soda all day and a continental breakfast in the morning.

We put on our Sunday best and headed down to the banquet hall for a reception with a couple thousand other proud KIA owners; they were all from Southwest Florida. The reception included a nice appetizer spread, a chilled seafood bar and numerous bars set up around the room. Employees poured cosmopolitans through an ice sculpture in the shape of a martini glass to everyone’s delight.

A buffet-style dinner awaited us all in the next banquet room. We waited in line with our awesome cosmos and talked to those around us as we headed towards the dining room. The couple behind us was incredibly grateful for the money. They had three kids; the mother worked full-time; the husband was a full-time student; and they had a very large extended family. They said that without the $1,000 their Christmas wouldn’t have been possible.

Entering the dining room, we were given a box that said Bloomingdales on it and a small red bag with the Macy’s star logo on it. Billy and Caroline were there taking pictures with the masses. We said hello to Billy, and he was happy to see us once again.

We sat at a table with our new friends we made in line, and to all of our delights, we were given a $500 gift card to Bloomingdales and a $500 gift card to Macy’s. Deals were available for us the next day at a mall in Miami, but we were welcome to take them to any Macy’s or even use them online. Duffy and I were so relieved. Shopping in

Billy and Caroline kept the party going all night long. PHOTOS BY NATALIE STROM

Billy and Caroline kept the party going all night long. PHOTOS BY NATALIE STROM

Miami? I don’t think so.

A fabulous band played the entire night, and Billy got up onstage to announce that he was extending the party for another hour. Duffy and I said, “no way.” As I said, we were still recovering from the cruise. We headed back to our room with a couple of glasses of wine and the desire to watch a movie in our nice comfy queen-sized beds.

Then I got hungry again, and decided to order more than $60 of room service. The food was good, and I couldn’t complain if that was the only money I had to spend on the trip. As I snacked on tortilla soup and guacamole dip, I heard a bit of a raucous. Peering out the eyehole of our room, I saw security guards knocking on the door across the hall. I opened the door and asked if everything was ok, and they said there was a noise complaint. We never heard anything after that.

The next morning I stopped at the front desk to pay for my room service as we readied to leave town. I was informed that the charge was removed due to the noise disturbance. How nice was that?

Soon Duffy and I were on our way, heading home with two gift cards in our hot little hands. The Collier County sign couldn’t have come soon enough. We had a great time at Billy’s party, but we are just not fans of Miami. The Dolphins, yes; the busy city, not so much. These two small town girls were happy to have made it home to Goodland safe and sound.

As for my share, I shopped online on the couch. Duffy went allll the way to Naples to shop with her half. It made our Christmas season much brighter, and again, it was all thanks to the “Huuuge” Billy Fucillo.

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