Sometimes Good Guys Win
When we read stories of lottery winners we sometimes pause to think why the blessings fell on their laps instead of on those who really need or deserve them. Samples of these are stories of incarcerated people winning significant lottery jackpots. Sometimes you would read of a big lottery winner who suddenly gets arrested for something – drug use, DUI, or more serious offenses and wonder why on earth did the prize not go to a more deserving person. But as the sun rises and the rain falls on both the good and the wicked, each lottery player has an equal chance of winning. The lottery does not discriminate based on need or morals.
But all that makes it no less heart warming to read of lottery winners who were saved from financial ruin, or good people who seem to have been rewarded by a significant lottery win. We rejoice whenever we hear of good things happening to good people. That is an apt description of the recent lottery win of retired New York City Fire Fighter Carmelo Mercado.
Who Is Carmelo Mercado?
Carmelo Mercado is a 63-year old retired fire fighter. He has been living on his pension for more than a decade, and is a stay-at-home dad to four children. But that is only half the story.
When terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Mercado was still an active member of the FDNY Battalion 49 in Astoria. Being a New York City fireman then meant countless hours and days spent on search and rescue efforts at the highly toxic environment of what came to be known as Ground Zero. This resulted in serious lung damage which eventually forced Mercado to retire in 2004, just three years after his exposure to toxins at the 9/11 site.
He is now receiving pensions and assistance from a grateful government. However, he still has concerns because, due to his illness, he cannot get insurance coverage. He also worries about potential medical expenses. But he says his experiences at 9/11 have made him more of a risk taker.
Life Takes A Turn For The Better
One of the ways Mercado takes a bit of risk now and then is by playing the lottery. The day he won, he had purchased just one $20 “Cash X 100” instant ticket, but then decided on instinct to purchase a second one. As luck would have it, the first ticket was a dud, but the second one held a wonderful surprise.
When he saw the first digit of the winning scratcher, he was stunned. He thought that looks like $5 million; which indeed it was. In an instant, his finances took a sudden turn for the better. The excitement caused him to lose sleep for a couple of days, unable to process the life-changing blessing that has just come his way.
What Lies Ahead
Mercado will receive $3,309,000 after taxes. That is more than enough to give him financial security – now he does not have to worry about his family’s finances even without insurance coverage.
There are other plans too. He says since the family visits Disney in Florida every year, he wants to buy a summer house there. His daughter who had asked for an American Girl doll may get ten of them. And he is already planning for this coming Christmas when the presents will be significantly bigger than in previous years.
It took more than ten years, but still it is nice to hear of the lottery seeming to reward a good man, a genuine hero of 9/11, with a significant win. Carmelo Mercado is a good person who also really needs to win a big jackpot to secure his family’s financial well being, and he did. He deserves every dollar of his win.