Ticket Number: 0842601| Kingston QLD 4114 | Total Prize Amount $760,000
It’s unusual to wait so long to actually catch up with a Deaf Lottery 1st Prize winner, but then again this isn’t a usual Deaf Lottery 1st Prize win…
Our winner has chosen not to reveal his identity, but has allowed us to use his high school nickname, “Lala” to identify him.
We meet up with Lala and his family on a rainy afternoon at Mitsubishi dealership just down the road from the Deaf Services South offices. Any gloom in the air is soon erased when we see the joy this $760,000 win has bought to a very deserving winner.
“The excitement grows with every day,” Lala says, as we reflect about how long it has taken to properly speak to him about his story.
We tried to call Lala numerous times, starting on Draw day on Thursday, and continuing through until early the next week. As our anticipation grew, our winner was nearly 3000km away in Fiji visiting his parents with his wife and two young daughters.
“I had a headache from being so happy!” Lala says of his Deaf Lottery win.
It wasn’t until Lala saw an email from The Deaf Lottery the following Tuesday announcing that the winner was from Kingston that he started to get a little excited.
“I saw the winner of The Deaf Lottery was from my suburb and I thought I wonder if it’s me?” Lala says, laughing. “Where we were in Fiji, the internet wasn’t very fast, so it took time for the phone to update. I kept on scrolling through my emails until I finally found one saying Congratulations! and realised I’d won.”
Lala had an excruciating two hour wait as he and his family counted down the minutes until our phone lines opened, and he could confirm his prize (and the entire Deaf Services office let out a sigh of relief that our Lottery winner hadn’t disappeared completely!).
“I got a headache from being so happy,” Lala says. “I couldn’t sleep. I just wanted to get back to Australia.”
Lala gives us the thumbs up just before he drives away in his brand new 2020 Pajero GLS!
Lala has not rested on his laurels since confirming his big win. As well the new car, his family is buying a new house, and renovating theirs ready to rent out. “There’s a lot going on at once,” he says. “It’s good though. It distracts me and keeps my brain occupied.”
The first thing the family decided on was a 2020 Pajero GLS, a model so new it was delivered straight off the ship. A much loved older-model Pajero will be retired, or at least used to “hide the new car until we’ve had a chance to announce the win to our friends!”
Lala and his family are Hindu, and it is fascinating to learn how their religious observances interact with to the processes of a Lottery win.
“In our culture,” Lala explains, “any time you buy anything new, you perform a ceremony. On Friday afternoon a priest will bless the car and say a prayer so the occupants stay safe. It doesn’t mean the car won’t be in an accident; it means the people inside will always be okay.”
A priest was also consulted when deciding when to pick up the car. His advice was that August was fine, but advised against buying anything in September (except, we hope tickets in The Deaf Lottery!). On the Tuesday when Lala confirmed his win, he went immediately to the Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple in Nandi to give offerings and thanks for his good fortune.
Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple in Nandi, Fiji, where Lala went to pay his respects when his win was confirmed.
Lala first began his support of The Deaf Lottery in 2012 on an “ordinary Saturday” in a shopping centre.
“I was playing the Lotto at the time, and thought to myself why not try something different? Also there is a great outcome for others even if I don’t win.”
He bought a $30 book of tickets then, and has done so in every Lottery since, giving himself even more chances to win by joining the Deaf Lottery VIP Club in 2014. Thanks to his ongoing support, Lala enjoyed an extra $10,000 in Book Buyer’s Prizes on top of his $750,000!
Lala’s Deaf Lottery journey began on an “ordinary” Shopping Centre Saturday…
As we talk, Lala’s wife dabs at her eyes. Later, as Lala is signing the final paperwork for their new car, she explains that she hasn’t been able to stop crying since she learned of their win.
Lala’s family moved from Fiji to Australia in when their eldest daughter was only two, leaving behind their family for a chance at a brighter future.
“We had so little then,” she says, “but we never forgot what it is to give to others. Even when we came to Australia we struggled for so long. But you always help other people. You just do.”
From all of us at Deaf Services, we wish Lala and his family all the very best for a bright and prosperous future.
Just this week Lala called us and bought a $500 ticket book in Lottery 180, telling us he wanted to keep up his support!