Michael Engfors, a homeless man living in Aspen, Colorado, probably won’t be homeless for much longer.
On Friday, Engfors, 60, went to the Aspen Shell station on Main St. to purchase a scratch-off lottery ticket, as he frequently does. Normally, the clerks say, he purchases one or two dollar tickets. However, on Friday, Engfors decided to buy a $10 ticket to test his luck. Little did he know that he would soon be the winner of half a million dollars.
“All the time, he’s outside,” clerk Gabby Garcia told the Aspen Times. “He comes in all the time with winning tickets.”
Michael Engfors was born and raised in Aspen and has been living on the streets for the past six years. After struggling with alcoholism, losing his business, and getting a divorce, Engfors found himself with no money and no place to live. He has been sleeping on the floor of the Saint Mary Catholic Church to avoid sleeping out in the cold weather.
“Michael has seen a bottom that has pushed him right to the edge,” Jeremy Kowalis with the Aspen Homeless Shelter told USA Today. “But Michael never gave up. He knew that if he kept pushing on, eventually his luck would change.”
Homeless man wins $500K on lottery ticket https://t.co/iEbY75kIBU
— WGRZ (@WGRZ) December 8, 2015
And that it did. On Friday, Michael scratched off the $10 ticket and was obviously shocked when he saw that he had not only won, but he had the $500,000 winning ticket. The odds of this happening are 840,000-to-1 for the Colorado Lottery’s “Eternal Splendor” scratch-off game.
“It’s such a great story, and it’s really inspired so many people, because out of all of the people, especially in Aspen, Colorado, that could win half-a-million dollars, it couldn’t happen to a better type of person, than somebody who actually uses the homeless shelter, that’s for sure,” Kowalis said. “I don’t think he normally spends $10 a day on a lottery ticket. But he did that day, and it sure paid off.”
After the gas station clerk verified that Engfors had indeed won the lottery, Michael returned to the church to spend one last weekend before going to Grand Junction to claim his ticket on Monday.
“I asked him what he was gonna do, and he said he wanted to get some skis and he really wanted to connect with his daughter who he hadn’t seen in over 20 years,” Kowalis said. “He’s interested in trying to find out how to go about reaching her and re-connecting with her, now that he’s got a little bit more means to do so.”
Michael said he hopes to find out where his daughter is living so he can buy a plane ticket to visit her. The director of the Aspen Homeless Shelter drove Engfors to Grand Junction so he could claim his winnings.
This isn’t the first time a homeless man’s life has been changed by winning the lottery. Last year, Magician prankster Magic of Rahat posted an emotional video to YouTube, recounting the day he gave a homeless man a “winning” lottery ticket.
“Listen man, I don’t really have any money to give you but I do have this winning lottery ticket,” he told the unsuspecting man, who was sitting on the curb. “I don’t really know how much I won…. I can give this to you. I can take you to the store and we can get this cashed.”
Magic of Rahat had already talked to the store clerk and had him prepared to count out $100 bills when the homeless man brought the fake ticket to him. When the man handed the cashier the ticket, he started handing him back the money.
“You’re kidding me right?” the man said. “Come on man, you’ve got to be kidding me!”
The homeless man then tried to share the money with Rahat, who refused and told him it was his winnings. That was when the man burst into tears, along with Rahat.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time. A long time,” Rahat said. “And never, never had a friend, had somebody do what you just did back there. Never.”
Check out the video below.
He gave his 'winning' lottery ticket to a homeless man, gave the store owner the money to pretend its real, amazing pic.twitter.com/8FOZWJt4XH
— Best Pranks (@PrankClips) November 13, 2015
[Image via Icatnews/Shutterstock]