Sunday, February 16, 2014

Rags to Riches for Hungarian Lotto Winner

A 55-year-old homeless man who picked up the largest ever Hungarian lottery win, in September 2013, managed to do so without all the usual media attention associated with big lottery wins. All that changed earlier this month when he decided to make a hefty donation to a shelter for the homeless.

László Andraschek's 630 million forint (£1.7 million) lottery prize does not compare well with the size of jackpots US Powerball and Mega-Millions players are used to, but in Hungary it's a big-money prize that has enabled the former down and out to live like a king.

Unemployed and deeply in debt, the future looked bleak for Andraschek and he would probably still be living on the streets if he hadn't decided to chance his last few coins on a lottery ticket.

Andraschek, who quit drinking five years ago, was on his way to a workshop for recovering alcoholics when he made a snap decision to buy a lottery ticket.

"I had only picked six numbers and the female shop assistant reminded me that I needed to pick a seventh," Andraschek explained. "I told her to make it 24—it doesn't matter anyway."

It turned out the number mattered more than Andraschek thought because it changed his life. He paid off all his own debts and then ensured his family was also debt free, but the thoughtful winner has not forgotten that many people are still struggling to drag themselves out of difficult situations so he now intends to set up a foundation for addicts and women who have been abused by their husbands.