All they needed to do was to make an original little video where they snuck in the phrase: “Há 40 anos a dar vida à melhor comida” (40 years of giving life to the best food). As I picked my vegetables, my mind was also being picked by friendly and excited Pingo Doce staff looking for ‘revitalising’ video ideas, and I have to admit I was totally hopeless.

All I could think was a video in the fish section where the fish suddenly started flapping around again. It soon became clear that I would be no help at all and they left me be.

When I got to the check out I saw my friend Ariana, who really is just the sweetest, but that day she seemed rather gloomy and I asked her if she was going to be entering into this ‘virtual video tournament’? She said no, there was no point, it was a nationwide competition and the chances of winning were negligible. At which point I went all ‘Coldplay’ on her and basically sang, well “If you never try you will never know”.

Now, I would like to claim all the credit, but I doubt my musical outburst had much to do with it. However, the important thing is something did change her mind and the next time I was in the shop Ariana, back to her usual jolly self, took me aside and showed me that she had in fact made a video, with the help of her friend (who obviously knew a thing or two about video editing) and sent it in.

The video was brilliant and didn’t feature anything silly like resuscitated fish, and instead told the story of how in her time working in the shop she had made friends with an English couple called Valery and Roger, and when she saw them they were always swapping recipes and food tips. The couple who usually spend half the year in England and the other half here couldn’t make it last year, but she showed how they are still keeping in contact and trading recipes via Whatsapp - sending each other pictures of their latest delicious treats. And that’s how Ariana seamlessly slipped in that key phrase, by showing that Pingo Doce isn’t just a place people work, but it’s also a place that you can make ‘friends through food’, and in that way, Pingo Doce has been giving life to the best food for 40 years.

Despite all this, Ariana still didn’t think that she would win, but it was a bit of fun and she had enjoyed making the video with her friend and joked (in the way dreamers do) that if she did win the new car her friend could have her old one.

Cut to a couple of weeks ago when I was in the Pingo Doce café, for one of their great cakes and a meia de leite, and I saw Ariana. I asked her playfully if she had won and she casually said “Yep”. I almost choked on my muffin and looked at her. These days it’s hard to read people’s expressions, but I said “What, really??”. I eyed her suspiciously, “I don’t believe you...”. I was totally sure she was pulling my leg and I was only convinced when we went to the window and she pointed out her new ride gleaming white in the sunshine of the car park, at which point, Ariana couldn’t contain her excitement anymore and we both did a little dance.

It was true. Just before Christmas, while she was working the till, Pingo Doce had announced the winners (5 in total) on the radio and then one of the bosses had appeared magically with the billboard to confirm it.

So, there you go. Isn’t that just the BEST news!? It made me so very happy and Ariana really deserves it (and, in case you were wondering, she did indeed give her ‘video wiz’ friend her old car). I really love this, as it shows that you really don’t know what can happen unless you try. Now, can somebody please play the solo from ‘Fix you’ already? If this isn’t the time for it, I don’t know what is.