Joe Chahayed said that as the Mega Millions drawing nears on Friday night, he feels like he is hosting a party every day.
Chahayed, 75, is the proprietor of Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, where a Powerball ticket worth $2.04 billion was purchased two months ago by an undisclosed winner.
“I came in at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, and there were people waiting in line up to there,” Chahayed said, pointing to the island of gas tanks outside. “We all went inside and I asked is anyone getting married? It looked like a party. They said it’s a Mega wedding.”
On January 11, Joe’s claimed to have sold 7,500 Mega Millions tickets. He anticipates that sales will increase on Friday the 13th, when lottery officials have stated that the estimated jackpot is $1.35 billion, or $707.9 million in cash. The prize would rank as the second-largest in Mega Millions history.
The date has proven fortuitous in the past, according to officials, as six Mega Millions jackpots have fallen on Friday the 13th. On January 10, nobody hit the jackpot, but a ticket was purchased in Hacienda Heights that matched five of the lucky numbers. The value of that ticket exceeds $3.9 million.
On October 14, a $502 million Mega Millions jackpot was won. There were winners from Florida and California in that draw.
All Mega aspirants are sent off by Chahayed with a lucky mantra. Since chicken no longer suffices, he elevated it to “winning winner, prime rib supper,” he claimed.
People come to this store because it’s lucky, he remarked. And good fortune for everyone.
Even before the November Powerball win, Derrell Davis, 53, of Altadena, had been purchasing Lotto tickets at Joe’s.
But while the winning ticket from two months ago in Altadena has given Chahayed’s clients hope, would-be billionaires are frantically purchasing tickets all around Southern California.
A 52-year-old woman from La Habra named Denise Stoops stopped at a 76 gas station on Pierce Street in Riverside to get water and a Mega Millions ticket.
I only ran in for water, but I was expecting a lottery ticket, said Stoops.
Stoops, who commutes from Riverside to his house, started his journey home with five Mega Million tickets in his possession.
If she wins, what would she do?
She answered, “I wouldn’t tell too many people, and I’d locate a reliable accountant.”
Lawrence Hall, 55, the owner of Much Love Barber Shop a few doors down in the same commercial complex as the petrol station, admitted that he frequently purchases lottery tickets.