Most people buy their own winning Scratchers® tickets. So imagine the surprise when Ana Avelar received a gift of a Set for Life Scratchers ticket tucked inside a thank you card from a local real estate agent. She’d just had her house appraised and the realtor gifted the $1 ticket as a token of appreciation for her business.
When she finally got around to scratching it the following day (June 5), she discovered she’d amazingly won $2,000 a month for 25 years! In other words, she was $600,000 richer – just like that! So what was her reaction when she discovered she’d won the top prize? “I got it on videotape!” the 40-year-old confessed. Videotape!?
That’s right! There’s cell phone video of the big moment when she found out she’d officially won. So why the decision to videotape? “I didn’t think [the ticket] was a winner,” Avelar confessed. “After talking to my son and my boyfriend, they kind of convinced me it might be fake! I didn’t want to get my hopes up.”
So the Pico Rivera (Los Angeles County) resident came up with a plan: she’d scan her winning ticket at the local 7-Eleven where she buys all of her California Lottery games (9349 Slauson Avenue, Pico Rivera) and videotape the big moment. That way she could prove to the two men in her life that they were wrong and she had indeed won more than half a million dollars!
“I had the video on when I was trying to scan it. When it said ‘file a claim form’ and the amount came up ($600,000), I was just like trying to be quiet about it – not get crazy. But I was like, ‘Oh my God, oh my God…’” she explained with a big laugh.
It’s not often you see video of the actual moment when a California Lottery player realizes they’ve just won a huge amount of money!
Avelar, who is a national account supervisor for a plush (stuffed animal) company, also shared the irony of her win: “I buy Scratchers all the time. I give them away as gifts for birthdays and Christmas. This is what I kind of [hope for] when I give them away as gifts. I never expected for me to win this way!”
Talk about karma! The woman who usually gives away Scratchers as gifts ends up winning big after receiving one as a gift!
So the big questions are who is the real estate agent who purchased the winning ticket and does this person know yet that they gifted what would turn out to be a $600,000 winner? That would be Ramon Sanchez of Ramon Sanchez Real Estate Group with Keller Williams in Cerritos. “Yes, I heard the great news! I was so delighted to hear that she won,” Sanchez said in an email.
Because Avelar got a free appraisal online through HouseValues.com and didn’t deal with a person directly, she admits she had no clue who Sanchez was. “I wish I had kept his business card. We never even met! He sent me his business card and asked me to keep him in mind for referrals after I told him I wouldn’t be selling right now.”
Avelar finally talked to Sanchez when he followed up on his business request and she filled him in on the big news that he sent probably the best thank you card ever! “Awesome! This is what happens when you do good things out of the goodness of your heart to help others. What a blessing,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez purchased the winning $600,000 ticket at a 7-Eleven located at 12200 Artesia Boulevard, in Artesia. We have a feeling his clients are going to be ripping open his thank you cards a little faster now!
Avelar said she’s decided she will be taking the $348,000 lump sum, instead of $600,000 spread out. “I’m probably going to put most of it away and pay off my second mortgage.” And if Avelar does end up selling some day, we wonder who she will call!