LIBERTY, Maine -- Sometimes people will give lottery tickets as gifts. More often than not those tickets don’t end up being winners.
One man didn’t want to take that chance. He knew the tickets he gave away were worth something.
It was a typical busy Sunday at Lori’s Café in the small Waldo County town of Liberty. Typical, that is, until a regular who goes by Hal walked in
“I knew most of the waitresses down there. Once in awhile there’s a new one in there. They’re girls that work hard,” he said.
Hal approached one of those new workers who was doing dishes.
“He says, 'You working hard?' She says, 'Yes, it’s really busy.' And he was like, 'here you go' and hands her a lottery ticket,” said waitress Paige Leary.
The Pick 3 ticket was worth a lot more than the $5 Hal paid for it.
“I happened to have a whim on a number and I said, 'that’s a good number' and I just bought it a number of times. The same number. And sure enough, the whim paid off," he said.
Hal bought 56 tickets with the same number. All winners.
“He says it’s worth $420. And then he gave all the girls working here tickets also,” said cafe owner Lori Mayer.
Mayer knows Hal. She knows he has seen good times and tough ones.
“I think he’s a very good-hearted guy. His wife was dying of cancer, and he took such good care of her," she said.
Earlier this year, lady luck smiled down on him when he hit the lottery for $2 million. When he hit it again with the Pick 3 for more than $23,000, he decided to give it all away to people who could use a little help.
“It’s a small restaurant. We’re all very close and I know they’re such hard workers and they need every penny they can get,” said Mayer.
Hal doesn’t seek recognition for his good deeds. He only has one request of the recipients of his goodwill.
“Some of them cry a lot. I can’t handle that. I just tell them, 'don’t cry, my god don’t cry,'” he said.