A Southern California store owner is living the 'American dream' after his 7-Eleven store in Chino Hills sold one of three winning tickets in this week's unprecedented Powerball game with a $1.6 billion jackpot.
Balbir Atwal came to the U.S. from Punjab, India in the early 80s, and opened four 7-Eleven stores, including the Chino Hills location about 24 years ago. He will get a bonus of approximately $1 million for selling the winning ticket, according to California Lottery officials.
"I 100 percent believe he deserves this," said one of his three daughters Sonia Atwal. "He pretty much set his foot here and helped our family make it- the American dream."
State lottery officials confirmed one jackpot-winning ticket was sold at Atwal's store located at 4092 Chino Hills Parkway in Chino Hills, in southwest San Bernardino County. Two others were sold in Tennessee and Florida.
Shortly after the announcement on Wednesday, more than a hundred people packed the 7-Eleven chanting "Chino Hills" to celebrate the historic win in the usually-quiet suburb city of about 75,000 residents.
Atwal said he was surprised to learn his store was one of the lucky ones, calling the group of revelers "a big family."
"I didn't believe it and then I looked at it carefully again," Atwal said.
City officials described Atwal as a cornerstone in the community, after he was among the first business owners to set up shop in the city after its incorporation.
"It's been so fun to watch our diverse community celebrate with this owner," said Denise Catteren, the public information officer for the city of Chino Hills.
Officials also said 12 tickets were sold in California that matched five of the six winning numbers but not the Powerball number. Officials are still determining the amount that those tickets are worth. They were sold in Chula Vista, Cloverdale, Gardena, Irwindale, Nipton, Pacoima, Redlands, Santa Cruz, Santa Monica, Santa Rosa, Tustin and Vacaville.
The winning numbers drawn were 4, 8, 19, 27, 34 and the Powerball number was 10. The final jackpot for hitting all six numbers was pegged at $1.586 billion, a record for any U.S. lottery game.
The Powerball game is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.