Workers at a real estate office in Plantation, Florida, are doing more than their fare share for staff morale - handing thousands of dollars of winnings to a workmate who refused to contribute to their lottery pool.
Jennifer Maldonado, of Pampano Beach, had only been working at Keller Williams Partner Realty for two weeks when her colleagues decided to buy Powerball tickets for Saturday’s draw. The mother-of-one said she didn’t have enough money to match the $20 other office workers had paid into the ticket-buying fund. A colleague even offered to contribute for her but she refused to take the loan.
Then on Saturday the colleagues got the good news - they had won $1million to be shared between 12.
But the very next day, the group kindly decided to split their winnings further still and opted to give Maldonado a cut ‘so she wouldn’t feel left out’.
‘I hadn’t gotten a paycheck and I was watching my pennies,’ the 31-year-old office worker told the Miami Herald. ‘I knew I was the only one who hadn’t put in the money, so I thought they were pranking me. ‘I actually realized they weren’t messing with me when my boss sat down and said this was real.’
The 12 all won around $83,333.33 each and have offered to each give an unspecified sum to Maldonado to try and make her feel better. They wouldn’t reveal how much the newest recruit would receive but vowed it would be ‘a fat pile of money’
‘As a team we put together a fat pile of money,’ said Realtor Laurie Finkelstein Reader, who organized the ticket purchase and offered to cover Maldonado’s contribution. ‘If we do the right thing and always care about other people, the right thing will happen to us.’
‘I’ll guarantee you the next time we play, she’ll be in there,” she added.
The win almost wasn’t to be for the group of house sellers.
Finkelstein Reader tried to buy 120 tickets but was mistakenly only sold 60 at the 7-Eleven Mobil Gas Station on Taft Street in Pembroke Pines. She then returned to the shop to purchase the rest of the batch - with a man joining the line in front of her. It was the second batch that contained the winner.
The Keller Williams team matched five numbers: 17, 29, 31, 52 and 53 in the $338 million draw.
After tax they received just over $83,000 each. Some have said they will invest in property while others say they will save it for a rainy day.
Nationally there were 13 $1 million winners as well as Pedro Quezada, 44, of New Jersey, who matched all five numbers and the lucky Powerball number 31 to scoop the $338 million jackpot.