Charlottetown $2M lotto winner happy — and still at work
'Now, my family and me are excited, happy'
It was business as usual inside Linda's Coffee Shop in downtown Charlottetown on Friday morning.
Owner Seyedazim Sharif was behind the counter, greeting customers just like he does every day — seven days a week.
But this has been far from a normal week.
Sharif recently won $2 million on an Atlantic Lotto scratch ticket.
"Now, my family and me are excited, happy," Sharif said. "Maybe change life."
Sharif said he went to an Atlantic Superstore last week to get supplies for the restaurant. While he was there, he decided to pick up a 200x Multiplier Scratch'N Win ticket as well.
Once he had scratched it off, he couldn't believe what he was seeing.
"I thought maybe $20,000, maybe $200,000 but I count zeros," Sharif said. "One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six! Yes, $2 million. I'm very happy, I'm very happy."
He went back out to the car where his wife Zeynab was waiting for him. Shaking, he told her that he had won $2 million.
"She hugged me," Sharif said, "Finally you win."
Sharif moved from Iran to Charlottetown with his family in 2014. He had retired as a financial manager there.
He said he made the decision to move to Canada for his family to have a better life.
"Here, Charlottetown is safe," Sharif said. "It's friendly. It's very good for children."
After working hard to improve his English, Sharif bought Linda's Coffee Shop for its "good location, good business" in 2017.
Then the pandemic hit in 2020, and he had to close it for three months — along with many other Island businesses — and there were very few tourists when he was able to reopen.
He said he had been worried about the upcoming season but the lottery win has changed all that.
His son, Seyed Yousef Sharif, worked as a cook but he had to be laid off because of the pandemic.
He couldn't believe it when he heard about the big win.
"I know my dad had a visualization of him winning the lottery one day so I was like 'wow, this actually happened. This is real,'" he said.
"I was screaming in the house. I just couldn't believe it."
Sharif said he is now deciding what to do next with his eyes on a second restaurant or even an apartment building to rent out.
He also plans to look at a few gifts for the family, including helping his children with down payments for homes.
The win will also allow him to explore more of Canada, he said.
"See Vancouver or Manitoba or Alberta — this country is big," Sharif said. "Need money and time. Yes, yes, I will go."
Sharif said he continues to play the lottery. In fact, he won $100 on another scratch ticket on Thursday.
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With files from Wayne Thibodeau