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Update: Altadena gas station basks in Powerball jackpot afterglow
A newly minted billionaire is among us.
A crowd gathered Tuesday morning, Nov. 8, at Joe’s Service Station in Altadena to celebrate.
A winning ticket sold at Joe’s Mobil station on Woodbury Road, which has been owned by Joe Chahayed for 20 years, was for a record-setting $2.04 billion, according to lottery officials.
Chahayed told a crowd of reporters and well-wishers clustered in front of his service station that state lottery officials called him the night before but only said some news would be coming in the morning.
Joe Chahayed, 74, center, is owner of Joe’s Service Center, a Mobil gas station at Woodbury Road and Fair Oaks Avenue in Altadena that sold the $2.04 billion-winning Powerball ticket. His sons, Danny, left, and Joe Jr. are next to him with $1,000,000 check, for selling the winning ticket on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (Photo by Dean Musgrove/Southern California News Group/Pasadena Star-News)
Lottery officials “came here before I opened,” said Chahayed who wore a yellow and blue Lottery T-shirt that read, “Millionaire Made Here.”
“They said, ’Congratulations.’ ”
Whoever bought the ticket had not yet come forward, lottery officials said, but the ticket matches all six numbers — 10, 33, 41, 47, 56, and Powerball number 10.
Someone, one lottery official said, has a “very important piece of paper” in his or her possession.
Powerball rules require the original ticket, not a copy, to be presented in order to claim the prize, said Cathy Johnston, a California Lottery spokeswoman. The winner has a year to turn it in.
“They need to absolutely guard it,” she said.
The $2.04 billion lottery jackpot is the largest in U.S. history.
Asked what he’d do with the $1 million, he said he’d share it with family, including his 11 grandchildren. Chahayed, the father of five, came to the U.S. from Syria with his wife and first two children.
“No one else deserves this more than this man who’s worked hard all his life,” said son Danny during the impromptu celebration aired on local news outlets.
Chahayed, 75, said he won’t retire: “I love my work.”
Drivers honked as they passed the station; some came in to take photos with Chahayed.
So who’s the lucky person who has the ticket?
Chahayed believes it’s a regular and someone from the neighborhood, but it’s unclear if the station knows exactly who holds the ticket. Chahayed, in an interview with the Southern California News Group, said he hoped the winner was indeed a local.
“This is a very poor neighborhood,” said Chahayed. “The poor people deserve it.”
Joe Chahayed who sold the winning ticket in the $2.04 billion Powerball drawing at his Altadena Mobil station, says he had a feeling there was going to be a winner among his customers. Video by @deanmusgrove for @PasStarNews @SoCalNewsGroup https://t.co/Mggu1oXG1X pic.twitter.com/DoFiAxzCyN
— Steven Rosenberg (@passthejoe) November 8, 2022
Under California rules, the name of the winner must be released by state lottery officials.
Winners can either take a reduced amount in a lump sum or to get the full amount in annual payments over 30 years.
In this case, the ticket holder would get about $997.6 million if taken in a cash lump sum and the full $2.04 billion under the 30-year payment option.
Most winners, Johnston said, take the lump sum.
“It’s great (for winners) to get a financial adviser, especially with a jackpot this big, and find an attorney, a tax person, an investment firm,” she said. “We absolutely … hope people do that. …
“This is life-changing,” Johnston said. “It could make a world of difference for generations.”
Three other tickets sold in California matched five numbers in the drawing but missed the Powerball number. Those tickets — sold in Gardena, Beaumont and San Francisco — are each worth roughly $1.15 million. A total of 22 such tickets were sold nationally.
Chahayed said the station has sold some winning Super Lotto and Fantasy 5 tickets before that brought ticket holders $8,000 to $9,000.
Powerball has 48 lotteries tied into it, representing 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.
The winning numbers were announced Tuesday morning; they were to be given out Monday night but glitches in other states slowed down the selection of the lucky numbers.
The win was historic in many ways, Johnston said — a record amount, $156 million, is going to public schools.
Joe Chahayed and sons Joe Jr. and Danny talk about what a $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot win will do for their community. Joe Sr. sold the winning ticket at the family's Altadena Mobil station. Video by @deanmusgrove for @PasStarNews @SoCalNewsGroup https://t.co/Mggu1oXG1X pic.twitter.com/53VOr7zsjw
— Steven Rosenberg (@passthejoe) November 8, 2022
“I’ve been here 27 years and have seen all the other jackpots,” she said.
But nothing compared to this one.
“I was hoping I wasn’t unprofessional (when the drawing was done), but I was like, “Whooo!’ ” she said.
The odds of matching all five numbers and the Powerball number is 1 in 292.2 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association, which conducts the game.
There was one final question shouted out, drawing loud laughter, at the celebration at the gas station on Tuesday morning to the owner and his family, which helps him run the business:
“Are you going to be lowering gas prices?”
City News Service contributed to this report