A Northern California convenience store that sold the sole winning ticket to the $425 million Powerball jackpot received a $1 million cheque Thursday, as state lottery officials waited for the winner of the one of the largest jackpots in U.S. history to come forward.
The California Lottery presented the cheque to Parmeet Singh, whose family owns Dixon Landing Chevron in Milpitas, a city about 15 kilometres north of San Jose that bills itself as the Gateway to the Silicon Valley. In California, retailers who sell winning jackpot tickets receive a share of the prize money up to $1 million, according to lottery officials.
The gas station is just off Highway 880, with an attached carwash and Subway sandwich shop. The parking lot was crowded Thursday morning with television news vans while inside the store, dozens of reporters and photographers crowded the aisles of snack foods as Singh talked about his surprise at hearing the news. The store's regular customers bantered about the prospect that one of them could have been the winner.
"I didn't believe it," Singh said. "I ran outside and yelled, 'Oh, my God!'"
Singh said his father, Kulwinder Singh, owns the store but was en route to India and wasn't expected to hear about the $1 million prize until after he landed in New Delhi and called the family. He had given his son his cellphone before leaving to avoid any business headaches that might come up during his absence, Singh said.
He planned to tease his dad before breaking the news.
"'Hey dad, what would you do if you had $1 million?'" he said he would ask him.
His parents are humble people, he said, so he didn't expect them to splurge on anything. The family would likely reinvest the money in their chain of eight gas stations, he said.
Singh and employees at the store did not know who the winner could be, though he hoped it was one of the store's regular customers.
The winner has up to a year to come forward and claim the prize and could opt for a lump sum payment of $242.2 million, according to state lottery officials. They advised the person with the winning ticket to immediately sign it and consult an attorney, accountant or financial planner.