Most Viewed Stories
Man spends $5 on lottery ticket, wins $2M
He doesn't have a driver's license because he's never had money for a car. He doesn't have a job — hasn't had one for years. And he lives with his mom.
"I was headed nowhere," he said.
Ross, 29, of Linda, won $2 million after buying a lotto scratcher at J & J Liquors on North Beale Road two weeks ago.
As he scraped off the bottom row, he saw the magic word: "Life."
"I looked at my friend and said, "'Dude, I think I'm rich,'" he said.
Ross will get the $2 million over 20 years, or $100,000 every year, from his California Lottery Set for Life scratcher. After taxes, he'll clear $70,001 with the first check to come in four to six weeks.
The $2 million payday still doesn't seem real, Ross said.
"I didn't get as excited as I thought I'd be," he added. "I'm still kinda frozen."
Ross turned in the winning ticket to the California Lottery, and they gave him one of those big, fake checks with $2 million written on it, but he hasn't seen any real money yet.
He pledged his first $70,000 to getting his mom a brand new car to replace her Kia Rio. She said no.
"She don't want nothing," Ross said. "I said, 'I'll buy you a brand new car, Mom.' She said, 'I like the one I got.'"
She just wants her son to be happy, he said. Two million dollars can give him a new life, one he's never known.
"I don't have to run around the streets no more," Ross said.
Those gritty Linda streets are crumbling. Tennis shoes are slung over wires and guard dogs make sure passers-by mind the no trespassing signs.
"Not a lot of people have money around here," said Nicole Bradford, 38, who lives across the street from Ross.
Ross knows he's a product of his environment, and that environment has problems.
"I've never had a car. I'm 29, and I've never had a car," Ross said. "There's something wrong there."
Ross wants to use his new stack to fix those kinds of wrongs, not just for himself but his family, his friends and folks in the neighborhood.
"I want everyone to come up, not just me," he said, "make sure all my friends and family are raised up on the ladder a little bit."
Nick Steele, 30, is one of the first people Ross wants to help. The two men grew up together on the same street and in the same schools.
"We used to talk when we were younger about getting rich," Steele said.
Ross has big ideas for the money. He said he wants to buy a few houses and rent them out to good people he knows will deliver on rent. He also wants to make sure his people have jobs, even if it means employing them himself.
"I just want something better to come out of it, improve things that a lot of people struggle with around here."
More money can attract more problems, especially in a rough neighborhood like Ross'. While he was celebrating, his dad told him to be careful; his jackpot could make him a target of people looking to rob him, especially since everyone now knows who's got money.
"I'm hella scared," Ross said.
Ross and Steele know they'll have to be smart, not flash the money around and spend it willy-nilly.
"It's a blessing," Steele said, "as long as we keep our heads on straight."
Ross said he wants to do just that.
"This is my one chance to do something," he said. "I've got to take advantage of it and not blow it."