Who said lightning can't strike twice?
It hit in this city for the fourth time in 11 years on Saturday when a Florida Lotto ticket, a Quick Pick, matched all six numbers in the $27 million drawing.
Because it was the only ticket in Florida with the right combination, 7-8-16-19-47-52, the person who bought the ticket in S.K. Ali's convenience store will get the entire pot.
Ali late Sunday didn't know which of his customers beat the 22,957,480-to-1 odds, but the 40-year-old manager of the Columbus Food Mart at 9061 Pembroke Road is pretty sure it is a regular.
A hunch, really, he says.
The person will get to take one lump sum or 30 annual payments and has six months to claim the winnings.
It's the first time in the seven years that Ali's store, which sells about 10,000 lottery tickets during an average week, produced a Lotto winner.
He has had many Fantasy 5 winners -- he can't remember how much they won -- plus one $10,000 Play 4 winner and a $10,000 Cash 3 winner eight months ago.
News about the store's biggest win spread slowly on Sunday. Few lottery players at Ali's store were aware that the same machine printing their tickets produced Saturday's big winner. But when they found out, they crossed their fingers and hoped that lightning would strike the same store in the same city again.
More than 11,000 retailers sell lottery tickets, and Pembroke Pines began producing multimillionaires on June 27, 1992, according to records provided by the Florida Lottery. That ticket was sold at the Farm Store on University Drive, one of two sold in the state that split the $5.7 million jackpot.
Luck hit Pembroke Pines again on June 7, 1997, when a ticket bought at the University Amoco, 901 N. University Drive, hit the $6.5 million jackpot -- the only winning ticket in that drawing.
And it hit the third time on Oct. 13, 2001, when the Express Lane Food Store at 9163 Taft St. sold a ticket that was one of three statewide to hit the $11 million jackpot.
For store owners such as Ali, selling tickets is a good business proposition. Not only do they get about 5.5 percent of the amount they sell, the lottery attracts customers to the store to buy beer, food and candy, he said.
He will get a bonus for selling the grand prize ticket but isn't sure how much.
Sometimes, winners have been known to tip the retailer who sold the ticket.
In addition to the top-prize winner, 129 tickets matched five numbers to win $5,649, and 8,319 tickets matched four numbers for $71.
Also, 174,606 tickets matched three numbers for $4.50.