The owners of a liquor store in Riverside County who sold the winning Powerball ticket worth $447.8 million got a prize of their own Monday.
The ticket that had all the winning numbers drawn in Saturday's Powerball was sold to at least one customer at Marietta Liquor & Deli, located at 27985 Bradley Road in Sun City, an area of Menifee, lottery officials said in a news release. For selling the winning ticket, the liquor store received a $1 million retailer bonus check Monday morning.
Family members of the liquor store's owner, who has pulmonary fibrosis, say the surprise win has them at a "loss for words" as they've been in the midst of a difficult year.
"It's not really about the money to us. The money, of course, is nice; anybody would want a million dollars," said Matthew Alberre, the son of the store's owner. "My dad ... he was very ill in the hospital in the first week of January, and it was the start of probably the worst year of my life, and six months later, it's the best year of my life. ... It's just a game changer."
Alberre said the family plans to use some of the money to help pay for his father's medical bills.
The liquor store, which is located in a close-knit community, and has been owned by the Alberre family for 27 years, has had long-time customers and visitors stopping by the store to share in the excitement and offer their well wishes since the winning ticket was announced.
"They've been here a very long time and I am glad to see they will get some proceeds from this as well," Menifee Mayor Neil Winter said. "Everybody come here. This is where everybody in Menifee actually buys their lottery ticket."
The customer who bought the winning ticket has yet to come forward.
Lottery officials encourage the winner to sign the back of their ticket in ink, keep it in safe place and visit any of the Lottery's district office locations.
Winners have one year from the draw date to claim their prize.
"I hope and wish the best for the winner," said Sun City resident Tommy Hannah Jr., who usually plays Powerball but did not buy a ticket this time around. "I hope he does the right thing and make the right decisions for the rest of his life because he is set, so to whoever won, congratulations!"
The $447.8 million jackpot is ranked 10th in the list of the largest awarded U.S. lottery prizes of all time, officials said.