A convenience store where three winning lottery tickets were sold in less than six months is credited with the sale that netted the latest $70 million Lotto Texas jackpot.
A clerk at an independent Corner Stop said he learned Sunday morning that the winning Lotto ticket was sold at Javed Panjwani's store.
Panjwani had spent Friday afternoon hanging certificates from two winning Cash 5 lottery tickets he sold last year at the southwest Houston convenience store. He stood back, admired his work and told a clerk, "We have room for more. We have to sell a winner for a big jackpot this year."
Saturday's win, with the Texas Lottery Commission's promise of a 1 percent cut of $700,000, eclipsed the past successes.
"I put those certificates up and two days later we have more to celebrate," Panjwani told the Houston Chronicle in Monday's online edition. "It's really unbelievable."
Panjwani, 40, said the other winning tickets were for Cash 5 jackpots of about $25,000.
The latest winning Lotto ticket's owner remained a mystery Monday. Rehan Siddiqui, a store clerk, said the ticket was sold Saturday and he hoped that it was to one of the Chimney Rock Road store's regular customers.
"Ninety percent of the people who come in here are people we see all the time," said Siddiqui. "It would be really nice to see one of them get something."
Store customers were greeted Sunday by multiple signs announcing the jackpot.
"Everyone has been checking their numbers this morning," said Siddiqui. "As soon as they see those signs, they get pretty excited."
One customer spent Sunday morning fretting that she did not buy her usual weekly ticket.
"I live right down the street, and we always buy a ticket here without fail," said Regina Jones. "Last night, I said to my husband, `Did you get our ticket?' He said no, and I planned to go out and pick one up, but I never did. Wait until he hears this one. We really missed out."
Houston's last big Lotto jackpot was for $37 million in June, with that ticket sold at a Texas Star Shop, a Shell Food Mart at the intersection of the Eastex Freeway and Beltway 8.
Panjwani, a Muslim who has owned the Corner Stop for five years, celebrated Eid ul-Adha on Sunday and had just left prayers at his mosque when one of his clerks called with the news.
"I haven't even thought about what I will do" with all the money, Panjwani said. "I will share some with my employees and give some to charity.
"It all came at once," he said. "Today is Eid, and the Super Bowl, and then I sell a winning lottery ticket. It really does not get better than this."