The Winning Ticket

Debbie had just won the lottery. Literally. The skinny, smiling beauty on the Lotto Jackpot drawing on TV last night finally picked the 6 numbers Debbie had been playing almost every week for the past three years. Fifty million dollars!! She was ecstatic!

As she pulled into the parking lot of her office building this morning, she devised a plan to quit her job.

Surely she and her family could live comfortably on $50 million (less taxes), she thought.

The 55-year old Debbie was fed up with her collections job. Her manager, Nick, whom she was not particularly fond of, kept expecting her to perform at a senior level. In fact, she had only ever held junior positions within any company.

She had been hired as Senior Collections Analyst three weeks ago. It was a lucky break as her employer at the time was undergoing a series of lay-offs over the following three months. During the interview for this job with SourceCode, maybe she had kind of overplayed her previous work experience – or just outright lied about it –  but she had no idea how much accountability she was required to give for this job. Thankfully, the Junior Collections Clerk was always helpful and willing to share her knowledge whenever Debbie needed it. And she always needed it. Try as she might she just could not get the hang of using the computer software or sending emails.

More than anything, Debbie hated speaking to customers. Perhaps it was her own temperament, but she hated making 50 or more phone calls per day to deal with delinquent-paying clients. She had always wanted to walk off the job, but at her age she was well aware that she was at the mercy of discriminating hiring managers. Besides, she was the main breadwinner for her family, which included her 2 adult children, a newborn grandson, and an ailing mother.

Debbie strode into the building and into her manager’s office, the confidence of being a millionaire powering her every stride. Today was the day she would walk off this miserable mistake of a career.

“Nicholas,” she announced authoritatively, “we have to talk.” And promptly plopped down in the seat facing his desk.

Nick looked across at her with an air of frustration. What was it now? Debbie, in his eyes, had the worst work attitude of any employee he had ever managed. Somehow in the past three weeks of being employed there, Debbie had found a reason to be absent from work for 3 straight days with no explanation, lost her company-issued laptop, and complained about every one of her five other co-workers in the Finance department.

Damn, it was only 8:45 am.

“Yes, Debra, what is it?” he asked.

“Nick, I’m so tired of you and the idiotic way that you manage this department. In fact, I’m tired of you and everyone in this company.”

Nick started to ask what the problem was, but Debbie interrupted him and continued.

“I hate this stupid job, okay? I hate calling those damn customers and I hate using this stupid, antiquated computer system.”

She went on to lambaste the Human Resources manager, the building colors, the food in the cafeteria, the “pitiful attempt at a summer outing”, and just about anything else she could put into words that morning.

She concluded with: “So, guess what? I’m leaving this crappy place! I’ve won the lottery and I’m not coming back here! So you can keep your stinking Senior Collections job!!”

With that, she got up, picked up her handbag and stormed out of his office, leaving Nick with his mouth still agape.

Oh, this felt great! Debbie had not felt this empowered and energetic in …. well, EVER!

She exited the office and went straight to her car. Maybe, first, she’d buy a new car. No, an SUV! Maybe a Toyota Sequoia. Yes, that could comfortably transport the family around. Maybe buy her kids their own cars too…

She drove out the parking lot, shouting a sarcastic “See ya! Wouldn’t wanna be ya!” to the premises.

Lottery tix - Edited
Photo by Bartosz Senderek

Along the way, with dollar signs dancing through her head, she couldn’t help but dream about all the places she would travel on her winnings. She decided to stop in at the local coffee shop. She was now a free agent and could enjoy a most leisurely breakfast.

“One large espresso and a cinnamon croissant, please,” she told the cashier when she got to the head of the line.  She gave the barista her name, paid for her breakfast, and stepped to the side of the line, waiting to receive her order.

Next to her a couple of guys also waiting on their meals were conversing excitedly.

“Yes, $50 million dollars the news said. Can you believe it?” the first one said.

Debbie knew instantly that they were talking about her winnings and listened in closer. Imagine if they knew that they were actually standing next to the winner herself!

“I know! But what luck for all those people!” the second one was saying.

All those people? What people?

He continued: “Imagine winning the Lotto Jackpot and then finding out that you have to share the prize with 2,000-odd other people!”

A wave of nausea washed over Debbie. What did he mean by “2,000-odd people”? She would have to share her winnings with 2,000-odd people?? That’s just about $25,000 per person – less taxes! Impossible!

The first guy went on: “Oh yeah. What a fluke! They said it was the first time so many people had ever claimed the winning number in the Lotto Jackpot. I actually bought a ticket and got about five numbers. Not bad. I probably won about $1,000 at this rate!”

The second guy chimed in: “One thousand dollars! Wow, you can quit your day job now!”

They both had a hearty laugh at that. Their names were called for their coffee and sandwiches and they headed for the door still chuckling at the idea.

As they passed Debbie, she heard the Lotto winner say: “Leave my job for a thousand dollars? Only an idiot would do that!”

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