The national Internet headlines blared out that one person, apparently hysterically screaming, crying and laughing at a counter in a small store on a northern Manitoba reserve caused a store employee to rush from the back of the store to the front to confront what she thought was a real emergency. Instead she witnessed what not too many others will do in Canada, a winner going through every emotion at the same time after learning she won $50 million.
The hysteria was contagious and soon the community of Pine Falls where nearby First Nation community Sagkeeng’s luckiest band members came from had real-time lotto fever. The lucky lottery for the winner was the newest addition to our affection for gambling in Canada, Lotomax, where prizes, like in this case, can easily go to the maximum of 50 big ones on heavy betting days.
The community needed this uplifting news to offset what was a huge blow to their local economy, the massive layoffs by Tembec, a major player in the forestry industry. The sawmill and workers were sacrificed to the economic gods on Wall Street. After tracking down more news about the incredible stroke of luck, the winners sped off in a limousine to Winnipeg, to hide out and catch their breath, before venturing out to claim what is now the second biggest win ever in Canadian history.
I hope that their luck heads due east and slightly north to my little lotto machine and click off my favourite numbers automatically. Ahh, the joys of winning.
For some people, winning large sums of money either made their lives a whirlwind of spending until they ended up with a little left and sometimes worse off than before, or even worse, dead. Winning large amounts of money does attract attention, sometimes, the wrong kind of attention. Take the unfortunate case of a casino winner in Montreal one lucky night, many years ago. After winning over a million smackaroonies, he was followed home by hoodlums and attacked for his winnings. In his case, even when he won, he lost.
Security of the clients certainly became an issue, as I witnessed first hand the efficiency an elite security force has within the casino walls. I slipped a 20 in, watched the machine swallow a half hour of my life’s work, only have all the lights go on and ring ding a ding. But no money came out, no change clanged into my waiting plastic bucket. Then, suddenly, the men in black showed up, with nice smiles, and kindly escorted me to the winners’ lineup at the cash, where they merrily helped me deposit a lot of money into my account. Ahh, the joys of winning.
Hopefully, a good ending to a fantastic story is coming for those people in Manitoba. One thing for sure, their lives will change. Since hearing of this stroke of luck, I figure, why not, it could happen here, at any time. What would you do with all that moolah? At least, you could daydream of winning something in your life, no harm in that. I would give a million dollars away to have that winning feeling though, losing only your control of your emotions through a total win-win situation.