In the past few years hundreds of thousands of people have signed up to drive for Uber. It can be a full-time gig or just a way to pick up some extra money on the side.
But one driver picked up more than he ever expected when a passenger left an unusual tip.
A driver named James, from Lakewood, Colorado, works for both Uber and Lyft, so he’s used to driving all sorts of customers around all day. But in early March, he picked up a customer he’d seen before.
“I very rarely get the same passenger multiple times, but I’d picked up this guy a few times,” he said.
At the end of the ride, the passenger got out—and decided to leave a rather unusual “tip” for the driver.
It was a lottery scratch-off.
It was a $5 Super Special Ultimate Bingo Scratch ticket from the Colorado Lottery. Uber does let customers tip in the app, but apparently this customer wanted to switch things up.
So James scratched the ticket off … and you’re probably thinking that the ticket turned out to be a big winner like the movie It Could Happen To You. But that wasn’t quite the case.
He didn’t win the jackpot, but he did win $30 … which he used to buy more lotto tickets.
Evidently, James was feeling lucky: “I kept winning these smaller amounts and just kept rolling it over and over into more tickets,” he said.
For the next six weeks, James had bingo fever and kept using his winnings to buy more tickets:
“I thought to myself, ‘I’m never going to hit the end of these tickets.’ It just kept going and going.”
Until late April, when his streak finally came to an end. He bought another Bingo ticket, scratched it off … and realized he had finally done it:
He won $140,000!
He’d have to make a pretty long drive to make that kind of money through Uber, so the win was life-changing.
James told the Colorado Lottery that he plans to use the money to pay back his parents after they helped him out over the years.
He also has no plans of quitting the ride-sharing business: in fact he plans to use his winnings to “soup up” his car.
As for the passenger whose gift made it all happen? James hasn’t had him in his car lately, but hopes he can share the good news.
“I haven’t been able to find him yet and tell him about this, but I hope I do,” he said.