After four years without a job, a down-and-out Californian spent his 39th birthday diving in an out of a dumpster and was rewarded with a $500 prize.
When Lorenzo Juarez visited Orlando's Market in downtown Stockton on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, all he wanted was a bottle of water. With no job, little hope of finding one, and still nursing the recent scars of a relationship breakdown, Juarez was at low ebb.
Jurarez got a birthday surprise when a customer in front of him got in an altercation with the store clerk, lost his temper and let rip, destroying his winning California Lottery scratch-off ticket.
Explaining the events to a reporter from KCRA3 News, Juarez said: "The guy insulted him and said do you know what I think of you and your store—and ripped it up—'I don't need the money.'"
Minutes later Juarez was dumpster-diving in search of the ruined ticket.
"People started staring at me," Juarez said, "and I was like I've got nothing left to lose—four years of bad luck—and it came together today."
When Juarez returned to the store, nursing the pieces of ticket, the clerk told him all he needed was the barcode from the back of the ticket and the corresponding numbers from the front. Juarez had the necessary pieces in hand so the clerk typed them into the machine and counted out $5oo.
"Yes!" Juarez hollered. "Steak Dinner!"