James Stocklas is a judge from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, but every year takes an extended vacation to the Florida Keys with his friends and family, including his brother, Bob.
After the month-long stay in 2016, James was driving home in an RV, accompanied by his brother and sister-in-law. Before leaving Florida, they stopped in to a gas station.
“We went in to buy a 20-pound block of ice and lottery tickets that day,” he told CNN.
The Florida Lottery’s Powerball drawing had a $291 million jackpot. James occasionally bought lotto tickets on vacation, but never seriously thought he’d win. Both brothers purchased tickets, and headed on their way.
Back in Pennsylvania, James was out at breakfast with his friend, Anna. He was suddenly reminded of the lotto drawing.
“I go to the same restaurant every day for breakfast and before I began drinking my coffee or reading the paper, I pulled up the news on my phone and saw a headline about a Florida Powerball winner,” he recalled.
He saw that the winning lotto ticket had been sold at the same gas station he stopped in on vacation. So he decided to check the numbers—and was stunned when he realized they were his.
He was the sole winner of the $291 million jackpot.
James was thrilled, and wasn’t afraid to celebrate. He bought champagne for his family and friends, and even arranged for a private jet to take him down to Florida to collect his winnings.
He even told the New York Post that he made his first major purchase right there in the diner:
“I said ‘everyone in the restaurant right now, breakfast is on me!’”
But things took an unexpected turn when his brother made an announcement.
It turns out, Bob had also won in the same lottery. But he wasn’t celebrating quite as much.
He won $7.
You’d think this might cause some jealousy or a sibling rivalry… but the Stocklas’ say there’s no hard feelings, and that James is happy to share the wealth.
“We’ve been laughing a lot about it, he doesn’t need to worry about nothing,” James told the New York Post. “Family’s family. He’s not going to worry about anything.”
Bob accompanied him to Florida to collect the winnings… and apparently, the Florida Lottery saw the humor in the situation, too.
They made Bob a giant novelty check for his $7 prize.
It’s a coincidence too crazy to believe, and you just have to laugh. Bob might not have won as much as his brother, but he’ll have the last laugh when they take those taxes out.