Here’s a Powerball story that’s one-part goodwill and $590 million-parts luck. Imagine you’re at the supermarket, in a long line at the check-out. An 84-year-old woman with far fewer items than you, gets in line behind you. Do you let her go ahead?
Mindy Crandall was in such a situation. She allowed the 84-year-old Gloria Mackenzie to move ahead of her in line. It would become a multi-million-dollar lesson in kindness.
Acts of Politeness in Line Is Fairly Common
It’s always considered polite to allow another person to get in line ahead of you, especially at the grocery store. It’s not an uncommon practice for the person with the cart full to allow someone from behind, with only one or two items, to move ahead. So, when Mindy Crandall allowed Gloria Mackenzie to cut in line that day in 2013 at the supermarket in Zephyrhills, Florida, it was merely an act of politeness.
Both Were Prepared to Play Powerball
During this trip, Crandall had a Powerball ticket on her list of things to buy. And she would ask the cashier for a Quick Pick when it was her turn to ring up her items. The elderly woman, unbeknownst to Crandall, also had plans to play Powerball. And as she graciously accepted her new place in line, she told the cashier she wanted a Quick Pick.
A Multi-Million Dollar Gesture
Gloria Mackenzie’s Powerball ticket ended up being a winner. And it wasn’t just a smaller price payout. Her Quick Pick ticket won $590 million. Mackenzie did say in an interview that it was “another lottery player” who had been “kind enough to let me go ahead” that made this Powerball jackpot win possible. And Mindy Crandall later acknowledged that she had been the Good Samaritan that day and didn’t regret the gesture. At the time, her young daughter had been with her, and the gesture served as an important lesson about kindness. She told reporters, “It could have been us,” but went on to say, “it’s better to be patient. I knew [I was] teaching our daughter the right thing.”
She Paid It Forward
Gloria Mackenzie took the lump-sum payout for her Quick Pick Powerball prize, totaling about $370.9 million. With her earnings, she began to pay it forward, starting with her old high school, which was in dire financial need. She donated $2 million to her alma mater and also went on to start a grant program foundation to help those in need.
Another Similar Story of Kindness Pays Off
In 2019, another act of kindness from a stranger led to a $273 million windfall. Michael Weirsky had purchased his tickets in a New Jersey convenience store but had accidentally left them on the counter when he left. A Good Samaritan in line behind him saw he had forgotten to grab his tickets and turned them over to the cashier. When Weirsky realized he had been distracted and called the store, the clerk told him someone had handed them over to the store in the hopes he would come back for them. That honesty turned out to make Weirsky a multi-millionaire, for which he is “very thankful.”
Unfortunately, Gloria Mackenzie ran into some financial concerns with her son and an inexperienced financial advisor who mismanaged funds and cost her millions. She would later sue to try and recoup those losses. She passed away in 2021, and it is unknown if all of her grown children or grandchildren inherited her remaining jackpot prize.
In the end, this Powerball-winning story is about acts of kindness. And for Mindy Crandall, there were no regrets. Gloria Mackenzie did get to enjoy her winnings and donate to help others, too. So, the next time you’re in line to buy Powerball tickets, will you be letting another player cut in front of you?