A man returned to the store after his wife wanted a better deal—and boy, did he find one.
On May 19, Tayeb Souami, a 56-year-old from Little Ferry, New Jersey, picked up some groceries at a Hackensack ShopRite, including some orange juice for $5.
However, when he returned home, his wife wasn’t happy about the purchase because the orange juice was on sale for less at another store.
Being a good husband, he obliged his wife’s request and headed back out to return the overpriced beverage.
But after getting his refund, something in the store caught his eye.
There was a New Jersey Lottery Powerball with a jackpot of $306 million.
Souami had been playing the lotto for 21 years but never won big. His losing streak was enough that his son urged him to stop playing.
However, maybe since he’d made all this effort just to return some juice, he used his $5 to buy two Quick Pick tickets.
He didn’t review his tickets until the next day, when he happened to be out getting his car washed and stopped into a 7-Eleven.
Since the store was also a lotto vendor, he decided to check his tickets.
He used the ticket machine, and while the first ticket wasn’t a winner, the second ticket displayed a message he had never seen before.
“Always I see two dollars, four dollars,” Souami said. “But this day I see, ‘must be seen by retailer.'”
Thinking the machine might be broken, he asked the clerk to check his ticket. She did—and was left speechless by what she saw.
“Oh my god,” she said. Souami asked how much he had won.
“It’s big,” she replied. “VERY big.”
“The clerk kept saying, ‘oh my god, oh my god, oh my god,’ and my heart went just like a Tom and Jerry cartoon when the heart goes boom boom boom,” Souami said.
Souami then read the slip: “Jackpot.”
He won the $315 million jackpot!
Souami matched all five white balls and the Powerball, and he was the sole winner.
“My heart was just beating, beating, beating …” Souami said in a New Jersey Lotto press conference, via CBS New York. “It took me two hours to fill out the form, because my hand was still shaking.”
He didn’t get his car washed, and when he made it home his wife asked what took him so long.
“When I show [my wife] the ticket, she started to cry,” he said. “She went to wake up the kids. Actually, it was [a] very emotional day for me.”
For Souami, who is originally from Africa but became a naturalized citizen after moving to New Jersey in 1996, this was life-changing money. He first plans to use it to put his two children, 17 and 20, through college after recently refinancing his home to do so.
He also lived the dream of any lottery hopeful and quit his job at a food importing company.
And it’s all thanks to a sale on orange juice. It looks like these two will be drinking plenty of it for now on, and not worrying about the price.
“I love orange juice now,” Souami joked.