This is Thayo Robelin. He won the lottery. Don't ask him for any money, though, because you're not getting it. Seriously, would you even consider asking a guy holding a machete for some money? Didn't think so! I'm just joking. I didn't mean to make Thayo sound mean and tough; he's actually a great guy and a dedicated family man. But there's a reason I said not to ask him for money.
Thayo Robelin was recently featured on The Lottery Changed My Life TV show. His story began in November of 2005. He had a four-month-old son. He needed to go out to the store to pick up a few things, but he didn't want to leave the house. It was cold and he didn't want to take his young son out into that cold night. So he asked a friend, a co-worker named Keith Bryce, to pick up bread, milk, eggs, and a few Mega Millions tickets and bring it over.
Keith obliged. He bought the bread, milk, and eggs. He bought five mega millions tickets for Thayo. He also bought five Mega millions tickets for himself. When Keith came to Thayo's house, he asked him to choose which tickets he wanted to take. He didn't want to make that decision, so the two friends agreed to split any prize that they won evenly down the middle. Guess what? They won! $17.5 million - $8,750,000 each.
Let's rewind a few years prior to Thayo Robelin winning the lottery. Thayo had a criminal past. In 1999, his home and car were raided by the police. The police claimed that he was the leader of a syndicate that smuggled drugs into his home state of Michigan. He spent time in prison for that. Even before and after the 1999 raid, Thayo had numerous drugs and weapons charges laid against him. Yep, he was a criminal.
Then his first son was born in 2005. He needed to change. He wanted to change. His son needed a good role model and Thayo wanted to be that role model. So he left his criminal past behind. He got a job installing windows. Now Thayo was making an honest living.
Four months after his son was born, Thayo Robelin won the lottery. But Thayo was careful with his money. He didn't go on any lavish spending sprees, like many lottery winners do. He didn't give much money away to friends and family, also what many lottery winners do. He wanted that money to take care of his son. So he was careful with it.
So Thayo Robelin had money and his criminal past was behind him. He was a good man. In fact, he was in a bar one day, shortly after his lottery win, when he saw a familiar face. It was one of the cops that was involved in the 1999 raid. The two spoke. The cop even bought Thayo a beer. That's when you know you're no longer a criminal, when a cop buys you a beer.
Since the lottery win, Thayo has had another son. And, he still has money. Life is good.
Keith Bryce is pictured here with his wife. He and his friend, Thayo Robelin, won the lottery in November of 2005, a $17.5 million Mega Millions jackpot. Each of the two friends received $8,750,000. As soon as he won the lottery, Keith Bryce started dishing out money - To friends, to family, to pretty much anybody that asked him for some. Within the first month of winning the lottery, Keith gave away more than a million dollars.
Aside from giving away money, he also bought toys, plenty of toys. A new house, A Harley, a Corvette, and an Escalade. He didn't only buy toys for himself, he bought toys for friends and family too, including Harleys for his brothers and a Cadillac for his mother.
The money was flowing out. There were also charitable donations. There were rounds of free drinks to strangers at bars. There were $100 tips to waitresses at restaurants. There were gambling trips to Las Vegas, first class, staying in presidential suites.
Reckless spending. Most of it is now gone.
Before winning the lottery, Keith Bryce worked as a window installer. After winning the lottery, he lived the life most people could only dream about. Today, he's come full circle - He's back to installing windows for a living.
Two friends won the lottery and they embarked on totally different paths. One was smart with his money. One wasn't. I wonder if they still keep in touch.