Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be a celebrity for a day? Flashing cameras, signing autographs and being recognized a mile away would become your new normal. What about being a multimillionaire for a day? Shopping, shopping and more shopping would surely be at the top of our to-do list. Now what about a lottery winner? Achieving this would give you the best of both worlds - you’ll become an instant millionaire and an instant celebrity. Plus, the experience of winning the lottery will definitely last for much longer than 24 hours!
How winning the lottery makes you a celebrity
When a lottery draws its winning numbers, you can almost feel the anticipation in the air. Thousands of players around the world patiently wait to see which balls will be revealed. Somewhere, there will be one lucky player who will check their numbers and realize that they’ve won. Maybe they’ll share their thrilling news with their partner or they’ll decide to celebrate silently as they plan their future - but one thing is certain, their life is about to change in the best way possible.
The most memorable and defining moment for lottery winners is when they collect that iconic winner’s cheque. Financial adviser, Robert Pagliarini, says that it's really "the honeymoon stage of sudden wealth". With the flashing lights as photos are taken and a room full of journalists waiting to interview the world’s latest multimillionaire - this is every winner’s red carpet moment.
Lottery winners who have become news sensations and local celebrities
1. US Powerball winner Brad Duke
In 2005, 18-year-old Brad Duke walked into a local grocery store an ordinary man, but walked out as a multimillionaire. When ticket vendors in the store started excitedly jumping up and down, Brad was initially confused, but as the reality of his situation dawned on him, he says his instincts told him to "grab the ticket and run out". Young Brad Duke was officially the winner of the massive US $220 million Powerball jackpot! While he didn't run out of the store, he did continue to work and later released a statement that still makes headlines today - he planned on turning his lottery win into a whopping US $1 billion!
Since then, Brad Duke has been interviewed by multiple television, radio and print journalists, he has written a book and he's currently running the Duke Foundation - Brad truly is on a mission to leave a legacy.
2. $190 million winners Jim and Carolyn McCullar
In 2011 the US $380 million Mega Millions jackpot had two winners, one of them being couple Jim and Carolyn McCullar. After being married for 41 years, their sudden $190 million win was one of the biggest shocks they've ever experienced together.
However, they didn't let the shock of winning the lottery get in the way of making wise decisions. A bottle of champagne and a small celebration later, the couple wisely set up trust funds for their 4 kids and 23 grandchildren and gave generously to charity. Despite still having millions left, Jim told USA Today, that “I’m not going to fly all over the world". Instead, they planned on leaving enough money to help future generations be financially stable. The McCullar’s humble approach to their newfound wealth shocked people around the world because it was so different to the plans of other lottery winners.
As a result of their alternative answer, this couple has created awareness around the importance of being financially savvy and switching fast Lamborghinis for trust funds and financial investors.
3. John and Linda Kutey
When many people hear that they have just won a US $28.7 million dollar jackpot, they think of flashy cars and flashier homes, instead, after winning the lottery this couple gave back to their community. What the Kutey's did was so spectacular that multiple generations to come will get to enjoy it. They funded the construction of the one and only Spray Park in Green Island, New York.
In an interview with the couple, Linda Kutey announced that she had decided to donate a portion of her winnings to building a water park in honour of her parents. For this couple, giving back was more important than keeping the money for themselves and we’re sure everyone in Green Island agrees!