One Lottery Ticket, Many Winners

Powerball winner Pedro Quezada and his wife, Inés Sánchez. (Photo by Cristina Loboguerrero via El Diario-La Prensa)

News that a humble bodega owner from Passaic, N.J., won the $338 million Powerball jackpot spread everywhere, including two local ethnic outlets that gave perspectives particular to their readership.

El Diario-La Prensa focused on the winner’s background: Pedro Quezada is Dominican and his wife, Inés Sánchez, is Mexican. Meanwhile, Desi Talk profiled the Indian owner of the store that sold the winning ticket.

According to El Diario, Quezada appeared joyful and also humbled at a press conference.

“I am definitely going to help my family, who is going through hardships right now. We are of humble origins,” said Quezada, 44, who immigrated from Jarabacoa in 1980 and has five children. With them, he has shared the same apartment on School Street for the past 20 years.

The article, by Cristina Loboguerrero, mentions that Quezada was a factory worker up until six years ago, when he opened a small bodega on Passaic’s 8th Street, in which he would work 12 hours a day until last Saturday’s stroke-of-luck ticket purchase.

But his oldest son, Casiano, seemed convinced that the jackpot won’t do away with the family business. “For the whole family, we are barely starting to process what’s going on,” said Casiano, who will keep opening the bodega everyday at 6 a.m., as he has been doing for the past few years. With luck, he said, his father will join him from time to time.

And while his father showed off his giant check, Casiano worried that, because of the crowd of journalists, the day before in the store “we only made $5 in sales, when usually we would have made more than $200.”

Another story in News India Times pointed out that the store that sold the winning ticket was also a bit of a winner.

Sunil Sethi, owner of Eagle Liquors in Passaic, N.J., the store that sold the winning ticket. (Phtoto via News India Times)

Eagle Liquors of Passaic, N.J., owned by Sunil Sethi, was the lucky store for Quezada who regularly bought tickets there. Sethi will receive $10,000 from the state of New Jersey and he intends to distribute it to his employees, the community and for upgrading the store.

Sethi, originally from New Delhi, told Desi Talk his store has sold winning tickets in the past but they were for amounts that ranged from $30,000 to $50,000. “But this is the biggest ever,” he said.

Part of the $10,000 he receives he said, will go to the person behind the counter who sold the ticket to Quesada, some to the other employees, “and we will give a free lunch or meal to members of the local community,” he told Desi Talk.

The story, by Ela Dutt, also mentions that Sethi is an esteemed member of the community because in the past, he has donated food for the poor, “never free liquor,” he pointed out.

An employee at Sethi’s store, who did not wish to be named, said people from as far away as Westchester County, New York, were flooding in to buy lottery tickets after news of the Powerball got out. The winning numbers were 17, 29, 31, 52, 53 and Powerball 31.

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