Martin won the lottery this weekend.
Just like millions of other people, we stayed up Friday to find out if the Mega Millions numbers were the same printed on our tickets. I played as part of a group of 14 people, so I had a total of 140 rows to scan.
Martin bought just one slip of paper with five rows of numbers (one for each family member), and an extra for good luck.
Earlier in the evening, Martin made a database for all of my tickets so we could easily locate matching numbers. Just minutes after 11 p.m., I was on the website (and Facebook), reading off the winning digits. Martin looked over the database, realizing that I only had two tickets out of that whole stack that only matched two numbers.
So my group of 14 will be dividing up $20. Hardly a win.
But then Martin picked up his ticket and asked me to read off the winning numbers again so he could compare.
“Two. Four. 23,” I said.
Martin interrupted me.
“Was there a 38?” he asked.
“And a 46?”
“YES! Oh my god, Martin. Do you have those numbers?!”
“Yes. What else?”
“Are you SERIOUS, Martin?! Are you serious?”
Instantly, my adrenaline started pumping. Did we just … no way … there was no way we just won the lottery. I studied Martin’s face as he studied the ticket.
“Yes, I’m serious. But, we don’t have 23. If only we had 23. We would be millionaires now, but we don’t have 23.”
He showed me the ticket. Yup, he had some matching numbers.
“What does this mean?” I asked with all the confusion of the Double Rainbow guy. Martin swiveled around to face his computer and went to the Mega Millions site to find out.
It meant he won $150 after buying one ticket.
We cashed it the next day and immediately paid for some new flooring.
Martin’s always been the lucky one.
That’s not to take away from the fact he’s smart and a hard worker. But when it comes to beating the odds, Martin’s got the touch.
If he enters a raffle, he wins it. Maybe not the grand prize, but he never leaves empty-handed.
If someone is randomly selected from the crowd for whatever reason, he’s picked. This happened at Disney World, when his mug was shown on screen throughout the show as a joke. He’s been approached with free tickets while standing in line to pay. And it got to where any time he attended a training session for his bank, he made a point to purposely avoid drawing attention to himself, but to no avail because he was always picked to demonstrate or role-play something.
And not to mention, but he’s also got the ability to lose weight just thinking about it, he can run for an hour without stopping after years of not running regularly, and while his hair is thinner, he doesn’t look older at all.
Maybe it’s genetics.
Maybe it’s his brain always calculating his chances.
Maybe it’s just that he’s so darn lucky.
Shortly before my group’s leader went out and purchased the lotto tickets, I gave a hopeful speech about likelihood, chances, odds, and crazy high numbers.
Of course, it starred Martin.
During high school, I babysat a family who lived down the street from me in Northern Kentucky, just outside of Cincinnati. The family’s husband, John, used to talk about Germany with me a lot because his father, an American soldier, married his German mother, and he grew up speaking the language a little bit.
When I met Martin during my exchange program in Nuremberg, and Martin flew over to visit me in the states, I knew I had to take Martin over to meet John. So, we walked down the street and stopped by their house. As soon as Martin walked in the door, he recognized the beer mugs displayed on the mantel.
“Hey, I know those mugs,” said Martin. “Those are from the annual festival in my city.”
“Really?” John said. “Those are from a small city called Erlangen. That’s where my mother is from.”
“That’s where I am from,” said Martin.
“No kidding!” said John. “My Oma still lives there!”
That’s how we discovered that John’s grandmother lived down the street from Martin’s home in Germany. And in fact, a few years later when I lived over there, John and his sons visited their family in Germany. So, from Martin’s house, we walked down the street to visit with them.
Of course, the story isn’t about playing the lotto. It’s about the random chances and coincidences that happen around us all the time, the things that convince us that the unlikely COULD be likely for us.
I mean, out of all the suburbs in America … of all the people and families in two huge countries … how likely was it, really, that the family who lived across the street from me in Northern Kentucky would also have family that lived across the street from Martin in Germany?
That Martin and I met at all?
Yeah. That Martin.
He is one lucky dude.