As It Happens

Lucky shop owner who sold a winning Powerball ticket hits the jackpot himself

Balbir Atwal will get an almost $1 million bonus for selling one of three winning tickets in Wednesday's massive Powerball lottery.
Balbir Atwal owner of the 7-Eleven that sold a winning Powerball ticket, smiles at his store in Chino Hills, California, on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. (Nick Ut/AP)

Balbir Atwal didn't win the Powerball lottery. But he considers himself — and his store — very lucky.

That's because he sold one of three winning tickets for the giant $1.5 billion jackpot. And that means he's getting a tidy bonus — almost $1 million.

Immediately after the draw on Wednesday night, crowds flocked to his 7-Eleven franchise in Chino HIlls, California, outside Los Angeles.

7-Eleven store clerk M. Faroqui celebrates with customers after learning the store sold a winning Powerball ticket on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016 in Chino Hills, California. (Will Lester/The Sun/AP)

"It's a neighbourhood store and I love my customers," Atwal tells As It Happens host Carol Off. "They love me. They've come here to celebrate with us."

The store was still a mob scene on Thursday. Many people were even buying lottery tickets, believing the shop will bring them good luck in the next draw.

"It is a lucky shop," says Atwal. "I'm really, really happy for my guest who won this big jackpot."

Balbir Atwal is given a kiss by his daughter, Sonia, at his store in Chino Hills, California. (Nick Ut/AP)

The identity of the California winner has not been made public. But Atwal hopes it is a regular and that he'll soon get to meet them.

Atwal says he'll give some of his bonus money to charity, some to his staff and some to family and friends. What he keeps for himself will go to his daughter's college fund.


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