(LIBERTY, Maine) — A Maine man who won the lottery twice in recent months shared his winnings with employees and diners of a local restaurant he patronized nearly daily for more than a decade.
Hal, who asked that his last name not be used, won a $2 million jackpot from the Maine lottery in April in a drawing among people who submitted their losing tickets.
“I was there in the audience with my son and my daughter,” said Hal, a widowed father of five from central Maine. “I said, ‘Lord if you want me to win this and do any good with it, call my name now,’ and boom, my name was called.’”
Hal, 77, a retired truck driver, said he took home $1.4 million after taxes. He used the money to help his children, and he kept playing the lottery.
Last month, Hal played the same Pick 3 game he has played for years, but as a new millionaire, he bought 56 of the $5 tickets. He picked the same three numbers for all 56 tickets.
Hal’s three numbers were winners and each of his $5 tickets became $420 winning tickets.
One Sunday last month, Hal took the winning tickets to Lori’s Cafe in Liberty, Maine, one of his favorite restaurants.
“He was sitting at the counter and a young girl was doing dishes. It was only her second day working here,” the cafe’s owner, Lori Mayer, told ABC News. “He said, ‘Have you been busy today?’ and she said, ‘Oh yeah,’ and he whipped out one of the tickets and said, ‘Well, why don’t you have this today.’”
Mayer recalled he then called her over and gave her a ticket saying, “Here, this one is for you.”
Hal passed out another five or so winning tickets that day and then came back a few days later to give tickets to more employees and longtime patrons, including Mayer’s mother and aunt.
“We all were so excited,” said Mayer, who cashed the winning ticket at a local convenience store. “Most of the girls who work here go to college or are single moms.”
She continued, “The dishwasher started crying a little and went out to thank him and told him how much it meant to her.”
Hal said he chose to give the money out at Lori’s Cafe for two simple reasons.
“They’re nice people and they work hard,” he said.
He gave away all 56 of the tickets over the course of about two weeks, surprising complete strangers at places like gas stations and grocery stores with the $420 prize.
“It’s something I’ve done all the time, maybe not on that scale,” Hal said of his generosity. “Everything that I do is in direct relation to God.”
Hal also plans to keep playing the lottery.
“I’ll play the lottery until I drop dead and if I hit it again, I’ll go give the money away again,” he said. “I’ll probably end up broke but it wasn’t because I was extravagant.”
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