Record $2 billion Powerball ticket sales at Altadena gas station – Orange County Register

Forget the choice. Or the rain.

The big news?

A newly minted billionaire is among us.

A crowd gathered at Joe’s gas station in Altadena on Tuesday morning, November 8, to celebrate.

A winning ticket sold at Joe’s Mobil station on Woodbury Road, owned by Joe Chahayed for 20 years, cost a record-breaking $2.04 billion, according to lottery officials.

Chahayed told a crowd of reporters and well-wishers gathered outside his gas station that state lottery officials called him the night before but only said they had some news coming in the morning.

Lottery officials “came here before I opened,” said Chahayed, who wore a yellow and blue lottery T-shirt that read “Millionaire Made Here.”

“They said, ‘Congratulations.’ ”

Whoever bought the ticket hasn’t come forward yet, lottery officials said, but the ticket matches all six numbers — 10, 33, 41, 47, 56 and Powerball number 10.

Someone, said a lottery official, has a “very important piece of paper” in his or her possession.

Powerball rules require the original ticket, not a copy, to be presented to claim the prize, said Cathy Johnston, a spokeswoman for the California lottery. The winner has one year to submit it.

“You absolutely must guard it,” she said.

The $2.04 billion lottery jackpot is the largest in US history.

Chahayed’s attitude?

1 million dollars.

When asked what he would do with the $1 million, he said he would share it with his family, including his 11 grandchildren. Chahayed, the father of five children, came to the United States from Syria with his wife and their first two children.

“No one deserves this more than this man who has worked hard his whole life,” son Danny said during the impromptu celebration, which was broadcast on local news outlets.

Chahayed, 75, said he won’t retire: “I love my job.”

Drivers honked their horns as they passed the station; some came in to take pictures with Chahayed.

So who is the lucky person to have the ticket?

Chahayed believes it’s a regular and someone from the neighborhood, but it’s unclear if the station knows exactly who holds the ticket. Chahayed said in an interview with Southern California News Group that he hopes the winner will actually be a local.

“This is a very poor area,” Chahayed said. “The poor deserve it”

California rules require the winner’s name to be announced by state lottery officials.

Winners can receive either a reduced amount in a lump sum or the full amount in annual payments over 30 years.

In this case, the ticket holder would receive approximately $997.6 million if paid in cash and the full $2.04 billion under the 30-year payment option.

Most winners, Johnston said, take the lump sum.

“It’s great (for winners) to get a financial advisor, especially with a jackpot this big, and to find a lawyer, a tax person, an investment firm,” she said. “We absolutely hope … that people do. …

“This is life-changing,” Johnston said. “It could make a big difference for generations.”

Three other tickets sold in California matched five numbers in the draw but missed the Powerball number. These tickets, which will be sold in Gardena, Beaumont and San Francisco, are each worth about $1.15 million. A total of 22 such tickets were sold nationwide. Record $2 billion Powerball ticket sales at Altadena gas station – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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