South Africa’s love affair with most things American has existed for a very long time, ever since the dawn of Americanised television shows, the arrival of McDonald’s to Cape Town’s shores and – more recently – Starbucks’ appearance on SA’s mass coffee market.
This certainly extends to SA citizens’ appreciation of an American staple, pizza. It’s interesting to note that a winning MegaMillions jackpot ticket was recently purchased at a pizza joint in Manhattan, USA. Of course, South Africa’s Debonairs, Domino’s and Butler’s pizza franchise don’t sell lottery tickets. Maybe that will in the future.
“People think this is the lucky store now. I hope I have more big winners. I don’t know who it is. We had a lot of people buying tickets. I hope they are one of my regular customers. They deserve it to win,” Pronto Pizza owner David Khirala told the New York Post.
“I’m happy for this person. With the pandemic and everything, probably they need it. Who knows if they have credit cards bills, kids to go to school – you never know.”
And how much did the pizza place purchaser win with their MegaMillions ticket? South Africans might not quite be able to fathom the rand value when taking into account the current exchange rate. The dollar value is a whopping 432 million. Multiply that number by about 15 and you will have the rand value. Make sure you are sitting down for this. Yes, it runs well into the billions of the beloved ZAR.
A few years ago, the number was even bigger, as a South Bay syndicate collectively pocketed a resounding $543 million on the back of a MegaMillions jackpot win.
The 11-person syndicate were employees of a Wells Fargo bank branch in San Jose at the time. They had each pitched in a couple of buck and, lo and behold, their small investment returned millions of times over.
“They’re like all smiles, they didn’t say much,” said bank customer Pamela Burroughs then.
“I have tears in my eyes, I’m so excited for them,” added fellow customer Cathy Dilts. “I went up to one of them, gave her a big, big hug because I felt most excited for her, it was a young woman.
Customer Ahmed Abdo stated: “I saw some familiar faces but a lot of new faces, which didn’t make sense to me. I was told that they were going to keep their job here, but I don’t buy that.”
And lest we forget the time a New Jersey man dollars’ worth of MegaMillions winnings after a stranger returned a lost ticket. The eventual winner had lost the ticket immediately after purchasing it, but was in plenty of luck when a complete and kind stranger did him a solid by retrieving the ticket and handing it over. What a lovely, happy ending to a potentially disastrous venture.