By Zeb Welborn
Growing up in Chino Hills since 1981, I’ve seen the city grow from a cow pasture to a robust suburban town. I’ve personally witnessed a tremendous amount of growth in both Chino and Chino Hills in my lifetime. As the Chairman of the Board for the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce I can see that that success and prosperity will continue.
One of the coolest things that happened as a result of the Powerball win is how it showcased the way our city came together to support something that put our city in the spotlight for at least a few days.
As a child, I’d try to convince my parents to let me ride my bike to the 7-Eleven so I could get some snacks or a Slurpee. I grew up within a bike ride’s distance of the place that sold a winning ticket for the largest-ever lottery prize. And that’s pretty cool.
The first time I played the lottery was last Saturday, where I bought one ticket for what was then the largest lottery purse in history at $900 million. On Wednesday, I bought my second for the $1.5 billion jackpot.
In addition, the President of our Sunday Bowling League, Doug, organized a lottery pool and purchased tickets on behalf of our bowling league.
I didn’t watch the lottery live, but I got messages from family and friends not long after telling me to check my tickets. They had heard the news that a winner was sold in Chino Hills.
Instead of a 1 in 275,000,000 chance my odds improved drastically to 1 in Chino Hills.
I carefully checked my ticket. I didn’t match a single number. Unfortunately, I bought it at the Circle K gas station across the street from that 7-Eleven.
Then I remembered I still had a chance with Doug.
My family (who also bought into the bowling pool) and I waited by the phone hoping Doug would call to tell us the good news, or the more likely scenario, the bad news. But we didn’t hear from Doug, and so wild speculation began.
As time wore on, it became more and more likely in our minds that we would be declared the winners for various reasons:
- The winning 7-Eleven is on the way from the bowling alley to Doug’s house
- The winning 7-Eleven is the closest place to Doug’s home to buy lottery tickets
- We hadn’t heard from Doug
- If Doug did have the winning ticket, we’d assume he’d make sure to consult legal counsel on how to proceed with distributing the winnings to our bowling league
- Neither Doug nor any of his family had posted anything on social media.
- Everyone in Chino Hills got texts from family and relatives outside of Chino Hills asking if we’d won, so many of us took to social media to let people know we were losers.
- What would you do if you won the lottery? Probably disappear from social media.
- As more and more of our Chino Hills family and friends went on to social media to let others know they were losers, the odds went from 1 in Chino Hills to what felt more like 1 in 10 that we were the $1.5 billion lottery winners.
On Sunday, we headed to bowling as we do every Sunday night, only this time we were on the lookout for big news vans and television crews, there to catch our excitement as Doug announced that we were indeed the Powerball winners.
As we entered the bowling alley, Doug, a plumber, was outside making a phone call where he was talking about water heaters and other things a plumber would discuss; clearly a ruse.
Finally, Doug ended his phone call and came inside just before bowling began. I asked him one simple question:
“So Doug, are we millionaires?”
He reached into his pocket and threw down lottery tickets paper-clipped together and said, “You have no idea how hard this week has been. We didn’t win.”
As it turns out, Doug did buy our tickets at the 7-Eleven in Chino Hills as we had suspected, but not the winning ticket. As of now, we didn’t win the Powerball . . . Honestly, we’re still hoping Doug is holding out on us waiting for a more opportune time to tell us that we’re all millionaires!