Twelve Marin County Lotto Winners, Keep Their Jobs

Winners didn't quite win enough to retire.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    What would you do with a half billion dollars? If you're feeling lucky, go buy a Mega Millions lotto ticket. Millions of people across the country are preparing for Friday's historic drawing. NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd reports from a lucky spot in Mill Valley.

    We all have dreams of winning the lottery, buying a sweet ride, foreign travel and best of all – telling the boss where he/she can stick the job. But a day after claiming his winning lottery ticket, Luciano Arruda was back at work making pizzas.

    There was a split-second last week when Arruda thought his pizza making days were over. He and eleven co-workers at Stefano’s pizza in Corte Madera, chipped in $100 each to buy Megamillions tickets. Last Tuesday, when the numbers were revealed, the group of pizza makers were sitting on one giant pile of cheese.

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    [LA] Lottery Fever Spreads Across Southern California
    No one had all the numbers in Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing. That means Friday's drawing will be worth a record $500 million. Craig Fiegener reports from the Inland Empire

    “When you see the five numbers, we got crazy,” said Arruda, between pies. “Everybody scream a lot. It was amazing.”

    The crew hit five of the winning numbers, worth $308,573. But before the workers sent the pizzeria’s owner scrambling for a new crew, they started doing a little figuring.

    “We start to calculate, divide it by twelve, taxes, everything,” said Arruda. Once the math was done, the group figured-out they each had about $25,000 coming – enough to pay-off some bills, not quite enough to afford that jet.

    “Probably a lot of guys would quit right away but we didn’t,” said Luciano Faria, one of the lottery winners who also manages Stefano’s three Marin County locations. “So they’re all here working.

    No one’s sneezing at $25,000 dollars. But no one was exactly jumping over the counter to celebrate either. When asked what he’d do with his cut, Faria quickly answered, “my wife is going to decide that.”

    At Jolly King Liquor and Spirits in Mill Valley, where the lucky ticket was sold, owner Anil Dhir was reaping the rewards of the pizza maker’s luck. A solid stream of lottery ticket buyers vying for the new record setting $540 million dollar jackpot were showing up Thursday, with hopes lightning might strike twice.

    “I guess the word got out we sold two lucky tickets here on Tuesday,” said Dhil in between the flurry of customers. “So more people are coming in, we’re seeing lots of new faces.”

    The lucky dozen of Stefano’s workers weren’t taking their luck in stride. With a deeper well of funds to draw on, they were chipping-in $200 dollars apiece for a stake at the $540 million.

    Only now if they win, Stefano’s might want to have that ‘help-wanted’ sign handy.