6 Mind-Blowing Lottery Winner Stories
Everyone loves a good lottery winner’s story. Reading about an unassuming elderly couple suddenly being able to outspend Floyd Mayweather is gloriously satisfying, but every now and then a story comes along that borders on the unbelievable.
Here’s a run down of our 6 favourite incredible rags-to-riches lottery stories. Enjoy the ride, and if you’re inspired, you can bet on all the best worldwide lotteries at Jackpot.com.
- Policeman Splits Winnings With Waitress
This story is so crazy it inspired, ‘It Could Happen To You’, a 1994 movie starring internet favourite, Nicolas Cage. New York policeman, Robert Cunningham, was a frequent customer at South Pizzeria where Phyllis Penzo worked as a waitress. One day, instead of leaving a tip, Robert suggested they split a lottery ticket and share the winnings. They each picked three numbers and, unbelievably, their ticket won. They split the $6 million jackpot, securing Phyllis what has got to be one of the biggest tips in history.
- The Most Fortunate of Fortune Cookies
On the March 30th draw of 2005, 110 people matched 5 Powerball numbers and picked up prizes from $100,000 to $500,000. As the odds stand, this tier is usually only won by a couple of people, so it was unprecedented to have such a high amount of winners. Concerns were instantly raised and fraud was suspected, however after further investigation it was discovered that there was no foul play after all. Instead, the 110 players had all opened a fortune cookie containing the same lucky numbers and decided to play them. That’s one substantial snack!
- Google Blows Lottery Winner’s Cover
Florida resident, Donna Campbell, noticed that her husband had started to keep the phone unplugged and the television switched off, and one day found letters regarding the purchase of a new house in her mailbox. Curious about her husband’s sudden unusual behaviour, she googled his name and discovered that he had won a $19 million lottery jackpot through a shared syndicate with 16 of his airline mechanic colleagues. Furious at his feeble attempt to conceal his winnings, Donna confronted him and he did a runner. Last we heard she was suing him for half the winnings. Don’t mess with Donna.
- Frane Selak - The Man Who Just Won’t Die
If what Croatian music teacher, Frane Selak, claims is true, then he has had the most eventful life of any lottery winner to ever live. Let’s just dive straight in:
1962 - The train that Frane was travelling in derailed and ended up in a frozen river. Frane survived with a broken arm.
1963 - The engines of the plane that Frane was travelling failed, and he was sucked out of a malfunctioning door. Frane survived with minor injuries.
1965 - The bus that Frane was travelling in crashed. Frane survived.
1970 - The engine of the car Frane was driving exploded. Frane survived.
1973 - The fuel pipe in the car that Frane was driving ruptured, causing another explosion. Frane, yet again, survived.
1995 - Frane was hit by a bus. He survived.
1996 - Frane’s car was forced off a mountain road by an oncoming truck and fell 300 feet. He managed to get out of the car before it landed in a ball of fire and was found clinging to a tree. Frane - you guessed it - survived.
After all of this, finally in 2003 Frane got a bit of luck when he won a $1 million jackpot in the Croatian lottery. The question is, is Frane Selak the luckiest or unluckiest man alive?
- Cheeky Australians Outsmart The System
Back in 1992, a group of Australians invested an incredible $5 million in tickets for a Virginia lottery, getting an Illinois businessman to block purchase the tickets for them. The syndicate calculated that there were 7 million different combinations possible with the available lottery numbers. They planned on buying all 7 million combinations, however they ran out of time, managing to secure 5 million tickets before the deadline. Luckily for them, one of the combinations they bought was drawn and they won the $27 million jackpot. Despite attempts by the lottery agency to prove a breach of rules, it was decided that they hadn’t broken any laws and the win was paid out.
- Mickey Carroll - The Self-Proclaimed ‘King of Chavs’
In 2002, Mickey Carroll from Norfolk in England, drew a flood of media attention when, at 19 years old, he won £9.7 million on the UK National Lottery. He worked as a rubbish collector at the time, and vowed not to spend his winnings irresponsibly, initially only wanting to buy a house on a lake. Unfortunately things didn’t quite go to plan, as in 2004 he was given a road ban for driving without insurance, and in 2005 was issued with an anti-social behaviour order for firing steel balls from his Mercedes causing excessive damage to surrounding property. In 2006 he was jailed for 9 months for affray, and upon his release was the victim of repeated blackmail. By 2010, after spending all his winnings on cars, parties and houses, he applied to get his job back as a rubbish collector. A solid effort from Mickey there, resulting in a true tale of being careful what you wish for.
These lottery winners have definitely had their ups and downs, but if you think you can at least do a better job than Mickey Carroll, then come and get involved in the biggest lotteries from around the world with us!