Long story short, back when I was just an intern in NYC, I found myself stuck with no debit card, no credit card, no available bank, and worst of all, no food. All I had was the crumpled up $10 I found in the pocket of my jeans. Do you know how hard it is to only eat for $10 in NYC? While I called my parents from my hotel room, panicking and looking for a way to get myself some money, I lived on eating McDonald's for a couple days. But of course, I had the Dollar Menu, and I didn't hate eating burgers, fries, and Coke for lunch.  

I tell this story now because McDonald's was a true lifesaver, back then and now. And the Dollar Menu, which actually went away for a while, is back. Actually, starting Jan. 4, the Value Menu became the $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu, serving 12 menu items all under $3. In promoting it, McDonald's is hosting a live game show, giving lucky fans FREE food for a DECADE, some hefty gift cards, and some crazy prize packages. Here's everything you need to know.

The Game Show

Tonight via Facebook Live, Alfonso Ribeiro (you probs know him as Carlton from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air") is hosting a game show with game show personality Wink Martindale, called "1-2-3 That's a Meal!" The show will feature real, pre-selected fans playing hilarious and fun games, competing for a chance to win a decade of free McDonald's, amongst other awesome prizes.

"McDonald's went all out. We gotta sound stage out here in California, we've got real contestants," Ribeiro says. "It's gonna be big, wild, and crazy, yet fun, and silly, and purposeful, to kind of get the word out there that the Dollar Menu is back."

Of course, if you're reading this, you're probably not one of those fans that's going to be on the show. However, you can still enter for a chance to win a $123 McDonald's gift card by tuning in and commenting on the episode.

The live show airs tonight, Jan. 10 at 6pm EST on McDonald's Facebook page.

You Can Also Win In Stores

If you missed the show, you can also win prizes via the 1-2-3 Meal Sweepstakes. Go to a participating McDonald's location Jan. 4 - 14 and purchase any $1, $2, or $3 menu item. Then, snap a legendary pic with your order and "your best game show celebration face," and post it to Instagram or Twitter with #123DollarMenu and #Sweepstakes, and tag @mcdonalds. This will enter you for a chance to win three amazing price packages.

As for creating a game show celebration face, Ribeiro says it should be beyond having a big smile. "I think we're going to look for something that's very different and very creative, so try to come up with the most creative way to show a celebratory face," he says. "Give it your all, be creative, have fun, you know, whatever you need to do to stand out."

There are three prizes available: One is a Stadium Tour Package that includes two tickets to seven sporting events. Another prize is the Best Summer Fests Package that includes two tickets to five summer music festivals. And the last prize is a Console Crazy Package for gamers, which includes a selection of new and classic gaming consoles valued at a max of $7K, plus $28,000 to spend on creating an entertainment center of the winner's choice.

Oh yeah, and all three of these prize packages include air fare, hotel accommodations, transportation, and spending money, plus $15,000 for winners to use at their discretion. All of that sounds pretty amazing to me.

So, Just to Recap...

 Head to McDonald's through Jan. 14 and order from the $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu, snap a pic for social media, and enter to win some legendary prizes.

Ribeiro suggests ordering his favorite Triple Cheeseburger from the $3 range, but admits that his old character Carlton would probably be a McCafe guy, sipping his drink with his pinky up. I love Carlton, but I think I'm more of a Ribeiro on this one.

Then, tune in tonight at 6pm on McDonald's Facebook for the live "1-2-3 That's a Meal!" show, and leave some lovely comments. You could be winning some free burgers, or at the very least, having a laugh while others do.