Driving the crazy streets of San Francisco – if Mahendra KC had a dollar bill for each of the strange things he’s seen or heard inside his Yellow Cab, he’d probably be a wealthy man. Well, he can throw that make-believe scenario out his taxi window thanks to the fact he’s just won a whole bunch of dollar bills – 1,962,339 of them to be exact – playing the California Lottery!
According to his family, the 50-year-old had been thinking about winning it big since immigrating to the Bay Area from Nepal about a decade ago. “It’s just a life-changing situation here,” said daughter Chandani, who was helping translate for her father. “Now whatever dreams we always had all together as a family, they’re going to be true.”
KC (that’s his full last name) decided to stop by Huntington Liquor in San Bruno to pick up a Mega Millions Quick Pick®. He paid a dollar and just like that, drove away in his taxi with a lucky ticket that ended up matching five of the six numbers (11-19-24-33-51) in Tuesday night’s huge $414 million jackpot draw. He missed the winning Mega number 7, but do you know he missed that by only ONE number! His ticket had Mega number 8!!
Oh so close to splitting $414 million with the two other winners in Florida and Maryland. But if you think anyone in the KC family is complaining, you’d be wrong. “My dad has been buying lottery for 10 years, hoping he would get the jackpot or some big amount,” Mahendra’s son Niranjan explained. “He is really excited about it. He was lost for words!”
Lost for words and also not taking any chances! Mahendra showed up at the Lottery’s South San Francisco District Office the minute it opened yesterday morning to claim his fortune. “I think my dad only had 3-4 hours of sleep because once you win the ticket of a very big amount, the first thing you think about is safety – am I going to lose it. So we came early to turn it in just to be on the safe side!,” daughter Chandani said with a laugh.
Mahendra’s children say it’s still too early to predict whether their parents keep both of their jobs. Mom currently works as a housekeeper at a San Francisco hotel. “We haven’t decided. We’re just kind of really over-excited right now. We’re not thinking of anything else,” daughter Chandani said.
Son Niranjan says the family plans to use some of its winnings to seek organ transplants for their grandparents, and to have his dad Mahendra’s chronic heart problem addressed. They hope to use the rest of the money to pay off school loans. “You know, we’ve worked so hard throughout our life. That’s all my dad thinks about is winning the lottery. Hopefully our lives change now. It’s pretty much an (American) dream come true,” he added – still in disbelief.