NJ Bodega Owner Wins $338M Powerball

Pedro Quezada says he'll help his family, others

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 26, 2013 6:08 AM CDT

(Newser) – Bodega owner Pedro Quezada has seen his share of hard times. The 44-year-old father of five lives with his wife and kids in Passaic, one of the poorest areas of North Jersey; years ago, a fire destroyed much of their store, and just one year later, thieves stole everything they could from the family's apartment. But now, finally, Quezada's luck has changed: On Saturday, as he did every night, he bought a Powerball ticket from Eagle Liquors—but this time, his was the winning ticket. He returned to Eagle Liquors last night to reveal himself to his excited neighbors as the winner of the $338 million jackpot. With the lump sum payment, he'll take home about $152 million after taxes, the Record reports.

He also broke the news to his family: He called them only after signing the ticket, telling his wife, "I'm a millionaire, Ines. Did you hear?" Neighbors described the couple as quiet but hard-working, and expressed happiness at their good fortune. "I'm just glad it went to somebody that could use it," says one. Another calls the win "a blessing for the neighborhood," because "it gives people hope that there is a blessing somewhere, for somebody." As for what Quezada will do with the money, he says, "I want to help a lot of people, in whatever they need, in rent, in whatever." First, he'll help his family, the AP reports. In Spanish, he told reporters that he's "very happy."

Crowds stand outside Eagles Liquors in Passaic, NJ Monday, March 25, 2013.   (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
Pravin Mankodia, sells a lottery ticket to Nature Haley at Eagles Liquors in Passaic, NJ Monday, March 25, 2013.   (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
Pedro Quezada, winner of the Powerball jackpot, stands next to his wife, Ines Sanchez, during a news conference at the New Jersey Lottery headquarters.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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