Balbir Atwal’s 7-Eleven convenience store in Chino Hills, California, experienced sudden celebrity on Wednesday afternoon as the seller of one of the three Powerball winning lotteries with a record jackpot of $1.5 billion.
The owner of the winning ticket — who gets $528.8 million in a three-way split of the biggest jackpot in US history —remains unidentified, but Atwal became richer by $1 million for selling it.
“I feel very good, some lucky customer came here and made me famous,” Atwal, 57, told The Washington Post.
The other two winners are from Tennessee and Florida, and they both remained unidentified, which winners prefer predictably to not invite unwanted attention.
A part of the bonus money will go to 7-Eleven and Atwal, who emigrated to the US from Punjab in 1981 and owns three other convenience stores, plans to use his share to help his employees and young people go to college.
For the moment, it was free Slurpees for those streaming in to his Chino Hills store to celebrate, take in the atmosphere and, as one of them put it, hope for some of the luck to rub off on him.
This Powerball jackpot started at $40 million in November 2015, but went through a record 20 drawings without a winner until Wednesday. And then there were three.
If they want it all in cash, they stand to take $983.5 million, split three ways. To get the full amount of $1.5 billion, they will have to agree to a multi-year annuity.
Atwal’s $1 million, however, is likely to be paid in one shot.