Teen Construction Worker Wins $35 Million Lottery

Posted: May 22, 2008 in News
Tags: , , , , ,

Jonathan Vargas, a 19-year old South Carolina construction worker, bought his first ever lottery ticket at a gas station last Saturday. The fluke purchase, which came with a few gallons of gas and some snacks, gained the teen a $35.3 million fortune.
Vargas opted for the lump sum of $17.3 million, rather then get the larger amount over years of annuity payments. He will have his money within two weeks, according to lottery officials.

“I have a mixture of feelings. Scary. Exciting. Still shocking,” Vargas said. “I’m still telling my mother to pinch me.”

According to local SC news source TheState.com, Vargas said he was working a construction job Saturday morning when “this weird feeling came over me.” He said he heard the lottery numbers in his head, jotted them on a napkin and called his mother to tell her to write them down so he could buy a ticket later that afternoon.

Vargas used the upcoming birthdays and ages of his four siblings to determine his winning numbers. His three younger siblings will turn 12, 14 and 15 this year, and his older brother will be 21. The fifth number he chose was for his mother, Patricia Richardson, who turned 43 on Sunday.

“Thirty was a lucky guess, I guess,” Vargas said, referring to the Powerball number. “It’s a blessing from God, man.”

Vargas says he’s not sure if he’ll quit his job right away.

“I’m so young, and I just don’t want to go in the wrong direction. I have a lot of family and a lot to protect… I’m not going to spend all my money. Investing is very important.”

In addition to investing, he wants to go back to school, set up trust funds for his siblings, and buy a new house for his mother, sister, three brothers and stepfather Anthony Richardson.

“We’ve been looking at houses on the Internet,” Patricia Richardson said. “We’ll buy a brand-new, big house.”

Vargas’ mother is a homemaker, and his stepfather, Anthony, 45, has been a custodian at a local hospital for five years.

“This is wild and great, and we thank God for him,” Anthony Richardson said. But how he spends the money is “his choice, his responsibility. The choices he makes, I’ll support.”

His philosophy on how he’ll spend his money could be summed up in Psalm 41, he said.

“He who helps the poor shall be blessed.”

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