Office Lotto Winners Share Wealth With Coworker Who Opted Out


You don't see this too often. Co-worker didn't have the money and has a 4-year-old with autism.


TODAY
When Jennifer Maldonado's office lottery pool hit a $1 million Powerball jackpot, she kicked herself for not chipping in $20. But her co-workers were not going to let her go without that winning feeling.

Maldonado has only been working as an administrative assistant at Keller Williams Partner Realty in Plantation, Fla., for three weeks, but her 12 colleagues have decided to cut her in on the winnings, even though she hadn't contributed to the pool. Alongside Maldonado and the rest of the winning group, Laurie Finkelstein Reader, the office worker who organized the pool, spoke with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie on TODAY Thursday about the group's act of generosity.

“Jennifer joined our team on March 8, and we felt that she became a part of our family at that point,’’ Reader said. “We felt we had been blessed with this incredible happening, and we wanted her to be a part of it and be able to feel what we were feeling.’’

On Friday, Reader went around collecting $20 from each worker for the tickets for a Powerball jackpot that reached $338 million by Saturday night’s drawing. Maldonado, who was laid off from her previous job and has a 4-year-old son with autism, had not yet received her first paycheck on her new job, so she opted to save her money. Reader and others offered to chip in to pay for Maldonado's ticket, but she declined.

On Saturday, it turned out that one of the tickets purchased by the pool was a $1 million winner with five matching numbers. Had the ticket also included the red Powerball number, the group would have hit the big jackpot of $338 million.

When Maldonado came into the office on Sunday to a delirious celebration, she initally thought her coworkers were playing a prank on the new girl because she was the only one who hadn't chipped in money. But soon she realized they really become one of 13 $1 million winners nationwide