Happy tears for this winner and his family after winnings provide means for a meaningful trip
By Kate Northrop
SILVER SPRING, Md. — A lucky Uber driver decided to use an unexpected $20 tip to buy a lottery ticket, which in turn earned him a six-figure prize.
What others might call a risk turned out to be a rather lucrative decision for an anonymous Maryland man who netted a $100,000 lottery prize using a large tip he received from a customer.
At the end of a Friday night filled with jetting Uber customers around to various destinations, one Silver Spring driver noticed that he was running low on gas. He wrapped up the evening by stopping at the Exxon gas station on Colesville Road in Silver Spring.
He headed inside the convenience store and made his way to a lottery vending machine. At the point he was standing in front of the machine, pondering which ticket he would buy, he didn't realize how the next couple choices would have him walking away six figures richer.
"I'd just gotten an unexpected, very generous $20 tip, so I planned to buy one $10 scratch-off ticket there at the gas station," the 40-year-old recalled. "The $10 'Ca$h Bonus' ticket I picked was a bust, so I debated getting one more. I must have stood in front of the machine for five minutes thinking about it."
He made the right decision. According to the Maryland Lottery, he had barely begun scratching the second ticket when he revealed what looked to be a $100,000 top prize.
"I couldn't believe my eyes," the Montgomery County man told the Lottery. "My mind just went blank."
Another customer noticed his bewildered expression and directed him to the ticket scanner in the store.
"The scan came up $100,000, but I still didn't believe," the winner continued.
Even with the confirmation of the ticket scanner, he needed to be sure that he was 110% certain that what he was seeing was true before giving the news to his wife, so he scanned the ticket again at home on the Lottery's mobile app.
Once he was able to relay the information to her, he said that the first thing he planned to do with the prize money was to take her and their children to visit their East African home, which they were previously unable to do for financial reasons.
"I told her that we could now both go, that we could make the trip together with the kids," he said. "There were a lot of tears."
Following the Silver Spring man's lucky break, there are now three out of eight top prizes of $100,000 remaining in the "Ca$h Bonus" instant game, which launched in August 2021. There are also three out of nine second-tier prizes of $50,000 and nine out of 24 third-tier prizes of $10,000 left to claim.
The retailer that sold the winning ticket will receive a $1,000 bonus commission from the Lottery.