We may not know who won the record-breaking $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot yet, but we do know the name of the store owner who sold the lucky ticket and will receive $1 million.
Before he opened his store Tuesday morning, lottery officials informed Joe Chahayed that his store had sold the winning lottery ticket. His prize for selling the jackpot ticket would be $1 million, the maximum retailer incentive.
“I’m very surprised. Very excited. Very happy,” Chahayed said during a press conference where he was handed a ceremonial check in front of his store, Joe’s Service Center.
Chahayed said he wasn’t aware of the Powerball’s winner, but hoped it was someone local.
“I wish I knew the person but most people who buy tickets from me are from the neighborhood. I hope one of them will be the winner,” he said.
As for his winnings, his family said there’s no one that deserves it more.
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“There’s no one else that deserves it more than this man,” one of his sons said.
Chahayed came to the United States in the 1980s from Syria in search of a better life. When he emigrated he came with his wife, two children, and $14,000.
He worked extremely hard to open and operate his own store.
“I never collect welfare, I never collect Medicare, I never collect any money from the government. All what I do, I work hard, seven days a week. I raised my kids, graduated from the college and bought a house and I bought a business all because I work hard and become an honest man.”
Now, as one of California’s newest millionaire’s, Chahayed said he plans to spend the money on his family and community.
“My son is expecting a baby in two months, so we are excited!” he said. “We can have a nice celebration for another baby. I have ten grandchildren.”
Monday night’s Powerball drawing was slightly delayed due to some technical issues. But once the numbers were drawn a winner was finally revealed.
The owner of the winning ticket has one year to come forward to claim their prize.