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Clerk's miscommunication helped lead office to $1M

Laurie Finkelstein Reader asked the Mobil gas station clerk for 120 Powerball tickets. The cashier, thinking she meant $120 worth of Powerball tickets, forked over 60 tickets. Powerball costs $2 per play.

Finkelstein Reader, holding a pile of tickets, discovered the problem when the cashier asked her for $120. A discussion ensued, made more difficult because the woman's primary language apparently is Spanish, recalled Finkelstein Reader, who this past Friday went to the Mobil on Taft Street in Pembroke Pines on behalf of her Plantation real estate office. Twelve members of the office each pitched in $20 to buy tickets for Saturday night's drawing.

“I was thinking she didn't know that Powerball was $2 per ticket, and I was worried she'd be short in her drawer,” Finkelstein Reader said. “And people behind me were getting annoyed that I was holding up the line, so we moved off to the side. A third person came in to help us communicate with each other, and another store cashier handled the people behind me.”

She then bought another 60 tickets and kept them separate, because, well, wouldn't you?

And guess where their winning $1 million Powerball ticket for picking five of five white balls Saturday came from? Yep, the second batch, which wouldn’t have existed had the cashier doled out all 120 tickets the first time.

To Finkelstein Reader, that's more than just the vicissitudes of life and the lottery. Had the cashier got the transaction right the first time, her office would not be $1 million richer.

“Anybody who knows me knows that I'm a huge believer in no coincidences,” said Finkelstein Reader, who says her office follows the principles outlined in Jon Gordon’s book “The Energy Bus: 10 Rules To Fuel Your Life, Work and Team With Positive Energy.”Ö “I'm convinced we're supposed to do something really important.”

That includes returning to that Mobil station and finding that cashier, she said. Finkelstein Reader and friends have some cash for her. And this time, they aren’t looking for any tickets in return.

“We always say, ‘Life is about gratuity,’ “ she said.

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