Store owner gets $1 million for Powerball jackpot: 'No one that deserves it more'

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(KTLA) – California has a new billionaire – and a new millionaire.

The owner of a convenience store where the winning $2.04 billion Powerball ticket was purchased will get $1 million.

The winner has not come forward yet, but the owner of the southern California store, Joe Chahayed, said lotto officials informed him of the prize before he opened Tuesday morning.

“There’s no one else that deserves it more than this man,” one of Chahayed’s sons said about his father.

Chahayed, who wore a California Lottery shirt that read “millionaire made here,” came to the U.S. from Syria in the 1980s looking for a better life. He said he and his family worked hard to open and manage their own store.

On Tuesday, he was handed a check for his portion of the winnings, which he said he will share with his children and 11 grandchildren.

“We are excited. We are happy for California, happy for Los Angeles County and happy for the city of Altadena, we are happy for the schools, they’re going to get more money,” Chahayed told KTLA.

For both Powerball and Mega Millions, $1 million is the maximum retailer incentive, according to the California Lottery.

Joe’s Service Center is located in Altadena, an unincorporated area east of Los Angeles. On Tuesday morning, California Lottery officials announced that a customer had matched all six numbers in Monday night’s record $2.04 billion jackpot.

“Somebody is holding onto a very important piece of paper this morning worth $2.04 billion,” California Lotto spokeswoman Carolyn Becker said during a morning news conference outside the store.

The winning numbers for Monday’s drawing, which weren’t announced until Tuesday morning due to a technical issue, were 10, 33, 41, 47, 56, and Powerball number 10. The Power Play multiplier was 2X.

“California Lottery makes its FIRST EVER Billionaire!” a tweet from the California Lotto read. The sign that now hangs over Joe’s Service Center had to be changed from “millionaire” to “billionaire” after the record jackpot.

Aside from the record-breaking jackpot winner, three more tickets matched five numbers in California, officials said. Those tickets were sold in Gardena, Beaumont, and San Francisco.

Another winner is California public schools. The state lottery raised $156.3 million for public schools as people tried their luck on the draw, Becker said.

Tickets worth $1 million were also sold in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Washington, lotto officials said. One person in Florida won $2 million.

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