They say lightning never strikes the same place twice.
If that’s true, Myrtle Beach resident Nina Kaur should probably stay away from Al’s Food Mart on Highway 15 during the next thunderstorm.
Kaur scratched off five lottery tickets from Al’s on Nov. 2, with one being the last $200,000 winner of the $10 Go for the Gold game remaining in South Carolina. That’s a stark contrast to last November, when on the 10th she scratched off the first $200,000 winner in the state’s Evergreen game … also bought from Al’s.
“I thought it was $2,000 when I first scratched it,” she said. “I showed it to my husband and he said, ‘No, that’s $200,000.’ I was very excited.”
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Odds of winning the prize were 1 in 516,000. Odds of winning two, well, no one at the S.C. Education Lottery knew, but it has happened before. A man in Anderson scratched off two $200,000 tickets, also within less than a year.
“I had someone ask me about those odds the last time it happened and I couldn’t even calculate it,” said Holli Armstrong, a spokeswoman with the lottery office. “Some people are just lucky.”
And while some might think the odds are too extreme to overcome without a little inside help, officials are adamant the win didn’t raise any concerns.
“It’s unusual, but it’s not suspicious,” said Tom Marsh, the lottery commission's director of security. Marsh said the commission has safeguards in place that would make it nearly impossible for a retailer or consumer to cheat the system.
Kaur’s husband, Robbie Kaur, was also excited, but didn’t even believe his wife had won when she called him at work to relay the news.
“I didn’t believe it until I saw it, to be honest,” he said. “When I saw it, I still couldn’t believe it.”
Kaur, owner of Diamond Cab, and his wife began the Diamond Med Transport service – which takes Medicare patients to dialysis treatments, doctors appointments and hospitals – with the winnings from last year’s ticket. The business has nine employees but hopes to expand and hire more drivers by funneling some of the winnings into the business again.
Kenny Singh, a business manager for the couple and five-year employee of the business, actually bought the ticket for Kaur. He was going to the store and she asked him to pick up some tickets before he dropped some paperwork off at her home. The single Myrtle Beach man wound up receiving $30,000 for his delivery service.
“I haven’t really decided what I’m going to do with it yet, but I’m working on it,” he said laughing Thursday. “I could get married, I guess.”
Singh isn’t the only one who benefited from Kaur’s stroke of luck. The couple plan to do some things for their employees besides hiring new ones, continue to help through their church and have a couple of cancer patients they know. Al’s Food Mart also receives a $2,000 commission for selling the winner.
“Jeez, it’s just unbelievable, but she’s a really nice lady and deserves it,” said Charlie Moore, the store’s manager. “She has a lot of people who work for her so that kind of spreads out the winnings.”
With all of the charitable donations and plans for the business one might think there wouldn’t be any left to go around, but Kaur says she still plans on spoiling her three sons – Parmveer, Ajaypal and Sukhbreet .
“I can spoil them just a little,” she said. “The youngest (Parmveer) said, ‘You can give me $10,000 and I can buy a car.’ He doesn’t even have a license.”
So, he may have to forego that wish this year for his older brothers, a senior at St. James High School and a college student.
But, there’s always next November.