What would you do if you won $336 million? That’s the question that’s been running through Rhode Islanders’ minds since the winning numbers of the large PowerBall jackpot were announced on Feb. 11.
When it was determined that the winning ticket was sold in Newport, people were itching for the winner to step forward. Speculations flew. Everyone hoped his or her friend or relative was the winner so they could get in on the hefty chunk of change. But for weeks, no one claimed the prize, and Rhode Islanders were left scratching their heads.
Finally, at a press conference Tuesday, 81-year-old Louise White of Newport came out of the shadows to claim her big check.
White, mother of acclaimed jazz musician LeRoy White, has made some wise decisions in the wake of her win, and in doing so, drafted a didactic, real life fairy-tale of sorts.
Still some may argue the best decision White made was the one to buy some rainbow sherbet on Feb. 11. Accompanying a family member to the store, White decided to buy the ticket for fun.
White reminds us that gambling doesn’t always have to live up to its negative connotations. The 81-year-old paints a different picture taking a gamble: not doing it out of greed or a compulsion, but on a carefree whim.
White’s win is a testament to the favorable nature of gambling, and the positive outcomes it can offer to both individuals, and the general public.
Take for example, the benefit of White’s win to Rhode Island. White didn’t rush to claim her money or announce her new status as a millionaire. Instead, she hired lawyers to advise her, and carefully waited to make the next move. White took her money in a lump sum, which earned the state roughly $14.7 million in taxes. Cha-ching.
White’s victory is also a perfect lesson in beating the odds. White’s chances of winning the PowerBall jackpot that night were 1 in 175,223,510. So if someone tells you not to do something because the odds are against you, use White’s win as fodder.
Once White saw she had won, and triple-checked her numbers, she rejoiced with her family. Then she went out to breakfast. Despite her win, White still took pleasure in the simple joy of good food and good company.
And what did she do with the ticket while she dined that next day? She put it in her Bible for safekeeping. That one speaks for itself.