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Waitress Wins $300,000 on Lotto Ticket. Then Best Friend Disappears with All the Money

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Have you ever heard the tongue-in-cheek aphorism that recasts The Golden Rule as, “He who has the gold makes the rules”? It might sound like a true-enough, slightly cynical observation on how the world works.

But ask any big lottery winner if he agrees, and you might end up surprised by the answer. Stuttgart, Arkansas, resident Leslie Underwood would certainly say that her life isn’t richer after racking up a big lotto win.

A waitress at Sportsmans Drive-In, Underwood had received five lottery tickets from her boss as a Christmas gift.

So had her best friend, Mandy Vanhouten, who also received her own stack of scratch offs.

Their boss told them they had to split any of their winnings as a bonus.

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The situation quickly escalated, though, when Vanhouten scratched off a $10 ticket — and discovered she’d won $300,000. “We were both reading the back of it trying to find the little, ‘You’re pranked!,’” Underwood told KMSS.

“We talked about how life changing it would be and what we were going to do with this money. She even talked about giving back since it was such a blessing.”

Underwood was also thrilled to think that she’d soon share in a six-figure sum.

But days later, she discovered that Vanhouten had claimed the reward without her and then vanished.

“It’s a little emotional,” Underwood said to KARK. “I cried for about three days. I was not in the Christmas spirit.”



However, thanks to the kindness of a generous stranger, she and her family may soon start feeling better.

When national news outlets started covering her story, a former long-time Disney employee decided to do what he could to raise the spirits of Underwood and her family.

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“I don’t care who you are,” the individual said. “That’s not a small amount of money, and the little bit I know about a waitress working at a sports bar in Arkansas tells me that’s life-changing.”

The former employee, who has asked to remain anonymous, decided to give Underwood an all-expense-paid trip to Disneyland, as well as unique experiences such as one-on-one encounters with famous Disney characters. “He went above and beyond,” Underwood exclaimed to Fox News.

“I’m so thankful. He didn’t have to do that.”

Underwood has also filed suit against Vanhouten, claiming that the two had an oral agreement that her former friend violated. Who knows? She may yet see some of her winnings.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Education
Wheaton College
Location
Florida
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith, Travel




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