Instant Millionaires

July 13, 2007
Emily Villanueva

One lucky couple won $8.75 million from the California State Lottery on Thursday. The previous day, Jon Smythe bought his weekly $1 ticket at the 7-Eleven off Highway 52. The next day, he and his wife Jodi were relaxing in their trailer in Santee watching “Are You Smarter Than A 5th grader,” and the numbers for the Super Lotto Jackpot came up: 3-4-33-43-44-45. Shocked, they looked up at the screen and then down at their ticket. They couldn’t believe it. In a matter of minutes, they had become instant millionaires.

The winnings seemed to come at just the right time since Jon Smythe had recently lost his job as a maintenance engineer at Qualcomm Stadium. He had been in and out of work for a long time, with already 44 past careers under his belt. The Red Cross helped them during a rough patch, and they already plan on giving back to the organization. With this sudden inflow of cash though, it doesn’t seem like the Smythes will need to borrow money from anyone else ever again.

Married for nearly 10 years, Jodi and Jon are not afraid of the potential consequences the lottery might have on their relationships. They met at an annual rodeo dance in Lakeside, and have been together ever since, even despite Jon’s rocky employment history. If anything, this money will improve their relationship. “I’m hoping for the positive,” Jon said. And as for their friends, if they decide to treat them differently, “We can just buy new friends!” Jodi jokes.

Almost all of the winning numbers held some sort of significance to the couple. Through a process of “scientific paranormal psychology” Jon chose the numbers: 44-the number of jobs he’s had, 33-the number of beers he drank that day, 43-the number of beers he’d buy if he won the lottery, 3-the age his mother left his family, and 4-the age his father was taken to the penitentiary.

They are vague on what will be done with the money in the long-term, but have some very specific ideas as for immediate purchases. Much will be spent on indulgences like diamonds for Jodi and a television in every room. They can finally get that subscription to the TV Guide, and “build a cat condo for my kitties,” Jodi said. They’ll probably upgrade to a doublewide trailer, but are comfortably content with the one they live in now. But the biggest investment the Smythes plan on making will be to own their own Laundromat, a long-standing dream of Jodi’s. A dream that can now become reality.

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