Feel-Good Friday: Unusual, Uplifting Stories Abound Among The Latest Lottery Winners

Erik Gibbs

A pile of lottery cards and balls

It’s been quite a ride the last few weeks for some lucky lottery players. As the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots begin to soar again, folks across the U.S. have been striking it rich in a variety of noteworthy fashions.

This one is remarkable: A Massachusetts woman has defied the odds by winning her second $1 million lottery prize in just 10 weeks! Christine Wilson’s first win came from the “Lifetime Millions” scratch-off ticket, and the second from the “100X Cash” game. Opting for the lump-sum payment both times, Wilson has said that she plans on putting most of her winnings into savings, although she admitted that some of the money will go to a new car.

Meanwhile, in a twist that seems straight out of a fairy tale, David Atwell of North Carolina experienced a stroke of luck that aligned with his sister’s dream of finding gold. After she dreamed of riches, Atwell purchased a Cash 5 ticket that won him an $800K jackpot. 

In her dream, I found a bunch of gold. I guess dreams do come true. My family always said I was the luckiest one in the family.

Cash 5 winner David Atwell

Adding to these tales is the story of a Mega Millions ticket sold at The Scarlet Pearl Casino & Resort in Mississippi. The lucky ticket matched five numbers, missing only the Mega Ball, resulting in a $1 million prize. But the unidentified player wasn’t the only winner. The casino will receive a $5,000 bonus for selling the ticket, showing that the house always wins — one way or another. 

These winners all take a backseat, however, to Cheng “Charlie” Saephan. His numbers, part of a group purchase, hit the $1.326 billion Powerball drawing on April 6, for which he and his wife ended up with around $211 million after dividing the winnings and paying taxes. It was a particularly welcome present for Saephan, as he is fighting cancer and will spare no expense when it comes to treatment.

Anything’s possible

Whether it’s through a dream that predicts a windfall or a routine purchase that leads to a life-changing moment, these lottery wins show that anything’s possible.

The odds of winning a lottery can vary greatly depending on the game’s design, but they are generally quite slim. For instance, in a typical 6/49 lottery game, where you must pick six numbers out of a possible 49, the chances of winning the jackpot are about 1 in 14 million. 

To put it into perspective, if you were to buy one lottery ticket each week under these conditions, you could expect to win once every 268,536 years.

Here’s a tip to tilt the scales for Florida residents and visitors to the Sunshine State: Buy your Florida Lottery tickets at a Publix. The grocery store chain sold 26 winning lottery tickets in April to take first place in the state. Next in line was 7-Eleven, which only sold seven.

It also may be worth it to take a trip to New Jersey. The state has produced 13 lottery millionaires and one billionaire through the first three months of 2024, according to the New Jersey Lottery.

Indiana, with apparently the most Powerball wins, would be another fine state to travel to, for those who believe in streaks, superstition, and the like.