There were two reasons Nick Aguayo hesitated before buying the scratch-off ticket that would later win him $1 million. One, it cost $20, four times more than the $5 tickets he occasionally picks up. And two, it was the 13th ticket in the display. He’s not a fan of odd numbers.
Originally, he had his eye on the 12th ticket, but after debating too long, another customer snagged it. Nick was on his way out the door when he changed his mind, walked back in and bought it anyway.
Nick, a merchandising supervisor at a Walmart store in West Covina, California, was on his lunch break that day in August and had only stepped in the nearby gas station to grab a snack. Back in his vehicle, he ate and scratched the ticket, revealing a $1 million cash prize. In disbelief, he froze – and then laughed hysterically.
“I thought, wow, I could have walked out with the ticket before this one, which I wanted,” he said. “It was a matter of seconds, literally, and I’m glad.”
Two months later, Nick has now received the money, as well as plenty of attention. The most common question being, well, aren’t you going to quit your job?
“That didn’t even strike me as an option, to be honest with you,” he said. “I really like the company. It’s a part of me, so to speak, so there’s no reason that I should.”
Nick has been with Walmart for two years, starting as a temporary associate and advancing to merchandising supervisor after just five months. Besides enjoying his job – and wanting to pursue his goal of becoming a store manager – he wasn’t raised to be a quitter, he said.
“I come from a family of hard workers,” he said, noting one particular example of his grandmother, who raised eight children by herself and held three different jobs. “I don’t think any of us can just not work, no matter how much money we have.”
While Nick’s money will still include his Walmart paycheck, his plans for his lottery winnings are just as practical. He wants to invest in some real estate, stocks and mutual funds, maybe take a trip or two, and help his mother pay off some personal debt. She was recently diagnosed with cancer, among other ailments, and Nick feels that helping her financially is an obvious choice.
“She’s one of the most loving individuals that you can ever meet. She gives off such a positive vibe that you’d never think she was going through any of that. I only know it because I’m her son,” he said. “I think anyone would do that for their mother.”