A Bartender Got a Tip Worth $2. It Turned Into $50K

Missouri's Taylor Russey says customer's gratuity was a Powerball ticket
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2019 9:25 AM CDT
A Bartender Got a Tip Worth $2. It Turned Into $50K
In this Aug. 23, 2017, file photo. a Powerball lottery ticket is printed on a lottery machine at a convenience store in Dallas.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Most watering hole patrons don't offer lottery tickets as gratuities, but one regular at Missouri's Bleachers Bar does it quite often—and a bartender at the O'Fallon establishment is now a $50,000 winner because of it. CNN reports on Taylor Russey's windfall, which came about after the customer handed out Powerball tickets on Oct. 19 to a bunch of regulars at the bar, including Russey. "It's just something nice he does for us," she tells the New York Post, adding that he still gives her a cash tip in these instances as well. The next day, the bar's lottery terminal informed staff that a $50,000 ticket had been sold there. "I was like, 'Guys, who won all this money and didn't tell anybody?'" Russey tells the Missouri Lottery, not remembering at first that she held one of the tickets.

When that finally entered her mind and she scanned her ticket at the terminal, it told her the prize was too big to cash there at the bar. "I kind of stood there for a second, looked at the cook, and then looked at the ticket before I started laughing and then I started crying," she tells the Post. Russey had four of the five winning numbers (14, 27, 29, 59, 65), plus the Powerball (12). She says she's staying put behind the bar—"this is not going to sustain me for the rest of my life"—and that the only thing she can think of at the moment to spend the money on is some needed dental work. She adds her co-workers aren't teeming with too much envy. What she'll end up pocketing is markedly less than $50,000 after her win took "kind of [a] big hit" due to taxes. (More uplifting news stories.)

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