Shuck and Jive

Friday, April 23, 2010

When Fortune Smiles

What do you think will happen to this man?

He just won the jackpot of 258 million dollars.

Here is the story:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man who won a $258 million Powerball jackpot and plans to use some of the money to pay bills, replace his two missing front teeth and take his children to Disney World said he hasn't decided yet if he'll quit his job at the convenience store where he bought the winning ticket.

Chris Shaw — a 29-year-old tattooed father of three who was raised by his grandparents in rural southern Missouri — came forward Thursday as the winner of the 10th-largest Powerball jackpot ever. Shaw said he had just $28.96 in his bank account and recently bought a 1998 Ford Ranger from a friend who agreed to let him pay off the $1,000 price $100 at a time. Now, he said, he no longer has to worry about how he'll pay his friend — or his utility bills.

"We didn't come from money. For us it's just going to be a huge relief to know I'm going to be able to pay my electric bill, my gas bill," Shaw told the Associated Press. "It's like a weight lifted. I had bills at home I didn't know how they were going to be paid."

Shaw said he bought the $5 ticket Wednesday at the Break Time convenience store where he works in Marshall, a central Missouri town about 80 miles east of Kansas City. He accepted his ceremonial check at the Missouri Lottery headquarters in Jefferson City wearing a tan and red plaid shirt, a red hat and a huge grin — minus two front teeth he says he lost because he didn't take care of them but can now afford to have replaced.

"I'm just a regular guy working paycheck to paycheck ... well not any more," he said.

Shaw said he needed a few days to decide whether he will keep his minimum-wage job at the store where he has worked for just three weeks. He also plans to seek advice "from people who know about money" about whether to take the jackpot in 30 payments over 29 years or the lump-sum amount of $124,875,122.

His boss, Jackie Maxwell, general manager of the Missouri-based Break Time convenience store chain, was thrilled to hear Shaw had won.

"He's just a great guy, a good employee. When you think of a large winner like this, everyone likes to see that the person who won is somebody like Chris," she said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Shaw — who has a 10-year-old son, a 7-year-old girl and a 5-year-old girl by two different women — said he had played Missouri Scratchers lottery tickets before, winning at most $80. He checked his Powerball ticket against the state lottery's website only after his girlfriend, Tosha Ewry, told him the winning ticket was bought at the store where he works.

When Shaw called Ewry back to tell her the news, she thought he was joking, he said. Finally, he said he told her: "I swear on a stack of Bibles, you need to leave work and come home."

The winning numbers were 11-34-41-49-55, Powerball 20. The Power Play number was 2.

Shaw said he looks forward to spending more time with his kids, who live with their mothers about 240 miles southeast of him in his hometown of Alton, as well as with his girlfriend's two sons — 13-year-old and 15-year-old boys Shaw says he considers his own. He plans to take them all to Disney World in Florida.

"I can be with them as much as I want now," Shaw said.

He said his children already have been asking for new skateboards, bicycles and "just stuff that's really hard to do when you make $7.25 an hour."

Can you imagine how this would change his life? Think of all the advice he is receiving and all of the requests and expectations from his extended family, friends, and neighbors. How will he handle the envy? Could he really live in the same town with everyone constantly harassing him, talking about him (and his family), demanding from him? Do rags to riches stories ever turn out well? What would you do?


  1. There was a fellow in North Carolina I think, who was in much the same position. It ended poorly for him. After about 5 years of drugs and partying and such I think he was murdered. His life changed for the worst almost immediately.

    Even if he is smart enough to hire an advisor, how do you know whom to trust? ANd even with that, how do you deal with the people who will come out of the woodwork asking for money? Even the most worldly, fiscally astute person would struggle with this.

    I wish him the best.

  2. I am such a bad person. I just read this story on MSNBC and had the exact same thought: "This will not end well."

  3. @Snad and Doug

    Yeah, I don't mean to be bummer man. I have often wasted time wondering what I would do if I won the big jackpot. How would I deal with family, my church, and on and on. Major ethical dilemmas suddenly appear. People you know with real needs come around (surgeries, etc.) Do I do like Jed Clampett and "get away from here" and reject the life of the past. I wonder if there is authentic advice somewhere on how to survive winning a huge jackpot?

  4. I'd take the lump sum, hole up in seclusion with some smart money types for a few weeks, and then I'd start some organic farms, some educational charities for the children of the poor and working poor that focuses on art and music stuff, open a outsider art and pop culture museum, give a bunch of money to AIDS and social justice charities. And I'd move to the beach.

  5. Maybe instead of celebrating rags-to-riches stories for the rare low income earner who hits it big while the unlucky ones in large numbers continue to eke out a living the best they can--and I know this is a wacky suggestion--we ought to be striving to build a just society in which there are no rags to begin with. But hey, maybe that's just me.

  6. Nobody in this thread has any imagination except good ol' Dr. Monkey.

    I hope this guy does well. If he's still trying to decide whether to keep his job or not, he may well have the smarts to survive this. I notice he's also planning to get his teeth fixed, not buy a $60,000 replacement for his $1,000 truck.

    As for me, I briefly thought about buying a ticket when I stopped at the local liquor store to buy sherry on Wednesday.

    I'd take the cash payout and set up a trust fund to pay health expenses for me and my brother and sister, and our extended families. Then I'd fix up my house. After that, given that I suddenly have the money, I would self-publish my theology work and go on the road (like Jesus).

    But y'all notice, I did not buy that ticket. Somebody else did, who needs the money more than I do.

  7. @Monkerstein

    Good call! I hereby grant you the next jackpot.


    Oh there you go again bringing class into it!

    Seriously, I agree, the lotto mania is really a cruel joke.

  8. @SeaRaven

    Our paths crossed. We will hold out hope for him, then.

  9. I kinda hope he decides not to replace his front teeth. :)

  10. Heh. Or if he does, make them solid gold.

  11. The guy gets no respect. I maintain my position -- betcha he doesn't end up like the poor fool in West Virginia who won $300 million back in 05?? Started driving to the local bar in his pick-up truck with $100K stashed in the glove box . . . and of course because folks in WV don't believe in locking doors, his truck was robbed a few times.

    He did come to a bad end. However, I'm betting on this one for now.

    Just because you're poor and have bad teeth doesn't mean you don't know how to live . . . specially if you're from Missouri . . .

    Show Me da Money!

  12. He can buy himself some respect right now!

  13. The WV guy Sea Raven mentioned is the one I was thinking about. A woman up in Brainerd MN won a couple hundred million once. The paper checked back with her after a few years and she was doing ok, but, unlike the good Dr. Monkey, had not really done anything with the money - except go to community college and buy the company she worked for, I think. She said she was not any more happy than before the winnings, but she wasn't in as dire shape as this fellow from Missouri.

    I would do very similar to what the Monkey posted, but I would also start a foundation and hire an impartial manager to award grants to people who come asking for money. And of course I would make sure everyone in my family had what they needed to live a "good life". I would buy all my friends and family a hybrid/electric vehicle, and might think about starting a plant here in Carter County to manufacture these.

  14. I wish Dude the best, too.

    But then again I've often thought, "Too much money bring too much trouble..."

    But that may be just another version of "Sour Grapes"? Or do I mean "The Grapes of Wrath"? Well, I mean something, I'm just not sure what...

  15. I wish him the best too, of course. What an adventure. I am always curious about change.

  16. I've thought about this too. Gifts to seminaries, etc. But the real question is how much do I need? The truth is, compared to much of the world and many in the US I already have more than I need.

    Maybe here in Philly (where libraries are closing because of less tax income because of the financial downturn) fund a few libraries?