The Poweball lottery winner from Wednesday night had not yet come forward 24 hours later to claim her or his life-altering $425.3 million jackpot, but the owner of a gas station that sold the ticket in the California Bay Area city of Milpitas has one million new reasons to be happy today.
The California lottery awards the retailer who sells a winning ticket a share of the jackpot, topping out at $1 million. Because the February 19 prize was as large as it was — the sixth-largest lottery prize awarded by any lottery game, ever, not just Powerball — the owners of Dixon Landing Chevron Food Mart, a gas station and convenience store in Milpitas, received a payout of $1 million from the state lottery commission Thursday.
As it turned out, the man who actually owns the store, Kulwinder Singh, was on an airplane headed to India and at last report still was unaware that he was now a millionaire.
His son, Parmeet Singh, who operates the store several days each week, was very much aware, however.
"It's an amazing feeling," said Parmeet Singh, to the crowds of reporters who jammed the Food Mart aisles Thursday. "I'm actually still in shock. I don't even know how to react. I'm at a loss for words."
He said that he was going to let his dad twist in the wind for a little while before breaking the news of their financial windfall.
"'Hey dad, what would you do if you had $1 million?'" Parmeet planned to ask his father, before telling him that he did, in fact, have $1 million.
The winning numbers were:
1 — 17 — 35 — 49 — 54 Powerball — 34
There was only one Powerball ticket in the country that matched all six numbers, a 175 million-to-one shot, and it was sold at the Singh family store.
Though the Powerball winner had not come forward, the California Lottery Commission advised that there was no rush, saying that winner should first be certain to sign the back of the winning ticket. Lottery tickets are bearer documents, which means whoever holds the ticket gets the prize. But an authenticated ticket can help prove if the person presenting the winning Powerball ticket is actually the individual who bought it.
The commission also told whoever holds the big winning Powerball ticket to seek out the aid of a trusted financial adviser before collecting the jackpot, which if taken in a single payment will be worth $242.2 million before taxes. Even winning a massive lottery prize is no guarantee of lifelong financial security, if the winner makes mistakes — as a surprising number of winners have sadly discovered.
Milpitas is located about 10 miles north of San Jose, California. Amazingly, on December 17, a gift shop in San Jose sold one of two tickets that claimed half of the largest jackpot in history, a $648 million prize in the Mega Millions lottery game.
That winner, Steve Tran, took several weeks to claim his prize — because incredibly, he forgot he bought a ticket for that drawing. Chances are, the person holding the winning Powerball ticket is well aware that he or she is holding on the $425 million slip of paper and will turn it in shortly.