For some reason, lottery and jackpot winners are never from, say, Beverly Hills, or Manhattan. Nope, they’re always from some hokey little town that no one outside of its environs has ever heard of. So no one should have been surprised when it was announced that just one person won the largest Powerball jackpot in history this month, and that that person was from Zephyrhills (sic), Florida. Where? Don’t they teach people about spacing between words there?
But even in a small town of just 13,000 people, no one knows who the winner is yet; that lucky so-and-so is keeping mum for now, and has up to 60 days from the drawing date to come forward, so it could be a bit more of a wait even yet.
When they do come forward, a lump sum of around $376.9 million awaits them at the Florida Lottery’s Tallahassee office; perhaps they’ll drive up in a Rolls. But one thing’s for sure: at some point, they will need to reveal themselves, because under Florida law, lottery winners cannot remain anonymous; their names and hometown will be public information. Perhaps Mr. or Ms. Lucky Duck is simply enjoying the last bit of privacy they will know for quite some time.
“It never happens this quickly,” said state lottery spokesman David Bishop. “If they know they won, they’re going to contact their attorney or an accountant first, so they can get their affairs in order.” Maybe hiring a bodyguard is also on the agenda? Or, at the very least, a chauffeur for the Rolls.
Meanwhile, naturally in such a small town, everyone in Zephyrhills is wondering if it’s someone they know. The one thing they do know is that the single winning ticket was purchased at a Publix supermarket there.
The mayor may want to warm up to the new Powerball champ; the win is 12x the small town’s entire annual budget of $49 million. The tiny enclave, which is about 30 miles northeast of downtown Tampa, was once a farming town, but has now drawn an odd mixture of aficionados to its realm; it’s now well-known in the area for skydiving, its natural springs bottled water, and numerous mobile home parks for retirees.
And now, the biggest Powerball winner to date in history can be added to that list.