WATERTOWN — Just before 8:30 a.m. a bell sounded as one of the regular customers opened the door to Handy Variety. His name was Michael Krikorian. He lived around the corner.
And he had heard the news.
“Congratulations!” he said.
Kamaljeet Kaur smiled politely. “Only one million,” she said with a twinge of disappointment in her voice. “It was a mistake.”
“Are you serious?” said Krikorian.
TV news cameras were still surrounding the store. But journalists were now reporting that it had all been a mistake, that a $758.7 million Powerball jackpot had not been won there. That instead only a $1 million ticket had been sold there.
Suddenly, for the first time ever, a million dollars didn’t seem like much.
“This is a lot of attention here,” said Krikorian, pointing at the news trucks and cameras outside the store. “I was just happy for them. They’re a nice family,” he said of Kaur and her family.
“It’s still a lot of money,” said Krikorian. “I’d take it.”
Gurinder Singh, Kaur’s husband, said his phone had been ringing since the wee hours of the morning. CNN and other media outlets were lining up to interview him. “They got me all hyped up,” he said.
“I was so excited when I left the house,” he said.
Singh didn’t find out about the mistake until he arrived at the store. Someone broke the news that the big ticket had been sold elsewhere.
Now the story changed. And for the next hour, the media interviewed him about whether he was disappointed (even though the family is still expecting a $10,000 bonus from the lottery).
Singh acknowledged he was feeling let down, but said he was still happy to have sold a million-dollar winner.
“It happens,” he said.
Gurcharan Singh, Singh’s father, sat behind the counter and rubbed his forehead. He shrugged off the question.
“Still happy,” he said. “I hope the million-dollar winner is a good guy.”