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Moorestown Teen Wins $1 Million with Help from 'Lottery Angel'

Two weeks after his avid lottery-playing grandmother died, a 19-year-old Moorestown High School grad won $1 million on a scratch-off ticket.

SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY -- I tend not to put much stock in things like fate or superstition. But may have just made a believer out of me.

Though he and his family have chosen to remain anonymous, the young man’s mother shared her incredibly lucky son’s story with Patch.

The winner, R.F., a 2011 Moorestown High School graduate, used to play scratch-offs with his grandmother growing up. She’d go to the store, pick up a few and have her grandson scratch them off. If she won even a couple dollars, she’d walk back to the store, buy more and repeat. But she never won anything more than a few dollars, said R.F.’s mother, A.F.

R.F.’s grandmother passed away on Sept. 12. A.F. described her son’s relationship with his grandmother as “very, extremely close.” A week later, he came to his mother and asked, “‘I think I’m going to start playing scratch-offs again. Do you think mom-mom will make me win?’” A.F. recalled. “I said, ‘I highly doubt mom-mom has any connection with you winning or not winning the lottery.’”

About a week after that, he walked into the 7-Eleven on Chester Avenue late one night with some friends to grab a few soft drinks and, on a whim, bought a $10 “$100,000,000 Spectacular” scratch-off ticket. A.F. said he’d never bought a $10 ticket before, just the $1 scratch-offs “here and there.”

The first ticket was a dud, so R.F. slapped 10 more bucks down on the counter and scratched off another. No dice.

At that point, he wavered, debating whether to drop another $10 or cut his losses. He finally decided “‘Oh, what the hell,’” A.F. said, bought one last ticket and went out to the car.

“He was only hoping to win back his $30,” A.F. said.

A few seconds later, A.F. became the richest 19-year-old in Moorestown.

Amidst the jubilation that ensued, the jumping up and down inside the store and in the parking lot, R.F. looked skyward and said, “‘Thank you, mom-mom,’” A.F. said.

‘He’s going to live his life like he never won it’

Judith Drucker calls them “lottery angels”: deceased lottery fanatics who bestow good luck upon their remaining family.

“I guess I’m more a romantic,” said Drucker, spokeswoman for the New Jersey Lottery, who claimed in the last year she’s been there she’s met “quite a few” winners with lottery angels on their shoulders.

If that’s the case, R.F.’s grandmother exercised quite a bit of angelic magic that night. According to the lottery website, there are only 16 $1 million winners out of 13.5 million “$100,000,000 Spectacular” scratch-off tickets. That’s 1 in … well, you do the math.

It’s been a few weeks since R.F. celebrated in the 7-Eleven parking lot, but his mother said the whole experience is still very surreal for him.

“Even for us too; you just can’t believe it,” she said.

R.F. selected the lump sum option, so he won’t get the full $1 million. Needless to say, it’s still a “nice chunk,” as his mother put it.

So a 19-year-old kid with several hundred thousand dollars burning a hole in his pocket. You’d figure: new car. Right? An exotic beach vacation with some friends? A shopping spree? At the very least, an iPhone 5?

A.F. said R.F. bought his brother a new TV, he’s planning a trip to California with a couple cousins, some upgrades to his car and then socking away the rest in an investment portfolio.

“He’s going to continue to live his life like he never won it,” she said. “We tried to explain to him if he put this money away and didn’t touch it, he’d be able to retire when he’s 50 … If that was me, at 19, and I had won the lottery, I just would’ve went on a major shopping spree.”

Drucker, who met R.F. when he went in to claim his prize, said she too was impressed by his disposition.

“He was so poised and centered and diligent about what he was going to do with it,” she said.

Apparently R.F.’s story has inspired others to try their luck, according to his mother, who said every person she’s spoken to since has played the $10 scratch-offs. But as for her son, he probably used up all his lotto luck—at least for a while—that night.

“Right now, it’s one and done, because he realizes the odds are probably greater of him getting hit by lightning at this point,” she said. “My belief is that my mother had such a hand in this, because the odds are so great … I just believe that. Not that I’ve gone out and bought any.”

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Ed October 17, 2012 at 08:23 PM
I did the math. Sixteen chances in 13.5 million comes to 1 in 843,750.
William Popp October 17, 2012 at 08:55 PM
One million dollars in todays economy is not all that much especially after Taxes.Put the money away for some college level classes to learn a useable trade and as an investment in your retirement. I know he is young, but think smart and plan ahead for your future.
dr allen October 17, 2012 at 09:08 PM
most lotteries you have to be 21 to play not in phillie i guess !
dr allen October 17, 2012 at 09:11 PM
i don't see how there's a system for scratch tickets
john doe October 17, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Actually, the vast majority of states minimum age to play is 18. Only in three states is the minimum age 21.
George Wiseacre October 17, 2012 at 11:07 PM
I wouldn't, but I could easily piss whats left of the after tax money away in less than a year. Because I'm already close to sixty it would last me until I was dead with a lot left over. But if I was 19 again, drugs, sex and rock and roll baby, for me and an ever increasing crowd of bloodsucking leeches, during the best six months of my life. Ask "You can't touch that" for confirmation.
Tyrus October 17, 2012 at 11:14 PM
That right, In this economy you have to be really smart with your money. You also have to be aware of the Bernie Madoof's. #the1%#
NAN BERG October 17, 2012 at 11:42 PM
i gotta win so i am gonna start playing the lottery more! i used to buy a lot of tickets as my mom was so hot for the lottery that she and i would buy a bunch and go to the casino couple times a month too. and i played by mail sweeps as well. they say it is good for people to play responsibly, good for your hopeful happiness wellness, but NOT if you go overboard into debt. anyhow, recent years my family is too frugal and we don't really play AT ALL. needless to say, we are all sadder and more despondent about the economy and our employment opportunities and no hope for thaT BIG JACKPOT we might hit. my mom seems older than her years nowadays, not young for her age as in the past. gotta play more regularly, and i promise to give HALF OF IT AWAY! (HEAR THAT LORD? I PROMISE!)
Laura October 18, 2012 at 12:16 AM
He wants to save that money? There is not enough interest rates in the banks to get much back for that money. Retire at 50? At this rate, NOT.
yvonne l October 18, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Most definitetly Gram was there. Now listen to the other Grammy here and put that money away. Make the right choices you are set for a good life in a nice home with no mortgage. Be smart and God Bless!
Mike Barnett October 18, 2012 at 12:39 AM
I like that sentence....“He’s going to continue to live his life like he never won it.” How many 19 year olds that just graduated from high school would sock away a million doillars and pretend that they never won it? Well, maybe after they buy that new hot car. Hmmmm....Maybe after I buy some cool clothes, too. Ah Gee...I think I need a house so that I can party in and a place to park my new car and hang my cool clothes. The list goes on and on and on and on..........
victor rivera October 18, 2012 at 01:27 AM
sure im gonna spend 27 bucks on a book to make some fool rich ill take my chances on the lottery
Steve October 18, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Great story and I hope he invests the money well...However a 19 year old spending $30.00 on scratch-offs on one trip to the store would put a red flag up if it were my son.....No offense to Granny.....but it sounds like this kid may already have a slight gambling problem.....Again, great story but I don't know of any 19 yr. olds blowing $30.00 on lottery tickets....Keep an eye on that money mom.....Good Luck....God Bless...!!
lauren October 18, 2012 at 03:07 AM
shouldn't he be sharing the money with his parents?????????
kindly October 18, 2012 at 07:18 AM
Stop with the negativity people stop hating dam...
Mike October 18, 2012 at 12:22 PM
I hope he invests it in mutual funds that deal in Africa and China he will do better there than in US stocks and European stocks, either that or spread some in gold and silver but the DOW? I would be real hesitant to expect a large return for the next 40 years since we sem seem to be at a near all time high now....... where will the growth be during his lifetime? Even Brazil might be a better deal facts is facts and CDs are paying a really small return .5 amd 1.2% those are not investment returns anyone can live with for 50 years.....
Townie October 18, 2012 at 12:23 PM
He's not even in the top 5 richest 19 year olds in town, the others just have less direct access to it. What a great game for the State...you collect $135M, have a cash exposure of $11M-$12M for grand prizes...pay another amount in smaller prizes (say another $11M)...and a commission to the sellers. The State has to net $100M from that game if they sell all of the tickets. Voluntary taxation....a wonderful thing.
Will Tremblay October 18, 2012 at 02:28 PM
They always say that the lottery is totally random and not even worth playing, but I have won small to moderate amounts several times (some of my friends even ask me to purchase tickets for them, because they think I'm "lucky," lol) The odds are still very small, but as I have shown, you can increase your chances. For example, you can increase your odds of winning by purchasing your tickets at the beginning of the "cycle"; when the new lots of tickets are placed in the machines, shipped out to shops, etc. because there are more winning tickets in the system. This "Lottery Method" book I bought online explains how to do a lot of that in great detail. Here's a review of it if you're interested: http://gamblingsystemreviews.net/lottery-method/
Harry Balls November 23, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Keep scratching!
Brandon Lang March 30, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Kid already hit the lottery when he was born. Silver Spoon in one hand million dollar scratch off in the other. Nice.

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