Customers at the Des Plaines gas station that sold a $1.34 billion lottery ticket were still left wondering Sunday who the lucky winner is — and whether they’d bumped into that person before.
But they had some advice for the mystery moneymaker: stay anonymous, or else invite negative influences into their life from greedy hangers-on.
“I’ve read reports that people who came forward previously who’ve won, people starting stalking them, and in some cases it hasn’t gone well for them,” said Mohammad Shafi.
He called it “crazy” that the Speedway where he regularly gases up at 885 E. Touhy Ave. is the one that printed out the winning Mega Millions ticket for Friday’s record-breaking drawing.
The winning numbers for the biggest prize in state history — and second biggest ever in the U.S. — were 13-36-45-57-67, with a Mega Ball of 14. Officials confirmed that the Illinois winner, who will take the entire prize, had yet to come forward as of Sunday evening.
Workers at the station declined to offer their thoughts on the massive payday doled out at their station. The corporate gas station chain will receive a half-million dollar bonus for selling the winning ticket, Illinois Lottery officials said.
Another customer at the station, who asked to be called Z, echoed Shafi’s thoughts, warning the winner to expect calls from long lost relatives.
“Everybody’s gonna come looking for you. You’ll have cousins you never seen before, you’ll have family members you’ve never seen before,” Z said. “Everybody’s attracted to money.”
Z doesn’t play the lottery often, he said, but he came to the Speedway Sunday to buy a ticket after hearing it had sold the jackpot. “I said, let me grab at least a Powerball and see if I can get lucky.”
If he had won, Z said he would spread the wealth in the community.
“Help those who are homeless, pay for somebody’s scholarship, college tuition. And just let that money keep reciprocating,” he said.
Shafi, a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology, echoed the idea. His dream would be to start a shelter to help those with housing insecurity, and teach them skills they can use in the workplace.
“Start some kind of program where they can learn some kind of technology and better their life,” Shafi said. “I hope he does some good with the money.”
Garry Adams, who is from Dundee but said he stops at the Speedway all the time, said he would be afraid to come into so much money at once because “it might change the person who I am.”
Adams said he would probably donate most of the jackpot, and start a business with the rest. He also had some advice for the winner.
“I hope he stays honest and doesn’t change himself and doesn’t let people get in his head. Just remember the people that called him and always talked to him everyday,” Adams said. “Don’t be passing the money out. Nobody needs to know.”