A poor couple spent their last few dollars on a lottery ticket and won a vast amount of money. They fought terribly about that money, then the man died. But the worst was yet to come.
Joseph and Lydia Moore had always been blue-collar workers in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. But they were both in their 50s when a horrible economic crisis hit the country. They lost their jobs and had to live off their meager savings.
They had already spent their 401Ks on fertility treatments, but in the end, they couldn’t have any children. After months of failing to find jobs, they only had $5 left to their name. They had discussed selling the house, but Lydia didn’t want to give it up just yet.
“Lydia, we have to sell the house. We can’t even afford food. Let’s see if you can buy enough with $5 to last a few days,” Joseph said to his wife. Lydia knew he was right, but giving up their home was a considerable sacrifice.
At the market, they bought several veggies and some discounted canned food. They only had one dollar left, and the cashier asked them if they wanted to buy a lottery ticket. They were giving away $1 million that same night.
Joseph decided to try out their luck, although Lydia thought they could have bought a few more things with that one dollar. They sat down in front of the T.V. that evening to find out the winning numbers and gawked when all the numbers matched theirs!
“I can’t believe it! It’s almost impossible to win in these lotteries! But we did! We did!” Joseph exclaimed. Lydia also smiled, relieved that they wouldn’t have to give up their house anymore. But the money didn’t bring them any happiness.
They fought all the time after receiving the money. Joseph wanted to invest it in his own business and buy himself a new car, while Lydia wanted to save it for their retirement and in case of a “rainy day.”
“Opening a successful business of any kind in St. Louis is a huge risk. I think we have to be cautious with this money, Joseph!” she scolded.
“We need to do something with it. We need to produce income, or we might be left with nothing in a few years, especially if we get sick or something!” Joseph insisted angrily.
They continued fighting until things got heated. “I’ll be at the diner!” he bellowed, grabbed his jacket, and slammed the front door. Lydia recoiled and rubbed her forehead in frustration.
She hated that they had to worry so much about money in their old age and wished once again that they had children to watch out for them. But most of all, Lydia didn’t want to fight with Joseph anymore. She decided to agree with his business idea.
But Joseph didn’t return after a few hours. Was he really that mad? she wondered, looking out the window worriedly. She fell asleep on the couch and only woke around 4 a.m. when someone knocked on the door.
She saw police sirens reflecting through her windows and knew the worst was coming. The police officer informed her that Joseph had a heart attack in the middle of the street and passed away immediately. At the hospital, they gave her his belongings, including his jacket. She cried and depressed soon sank in.
A few months later, one of Lydia’s friends recommended a support group for widows and widowers. She attended only to appease her, but Lydia began to like it. The leader, Natalie, introduced herself.
Natalie was younger than Lydia and a real go-getter. She encouraged everyone in the group to start working in her business, and Lydia agreed immediately. But after working a month, she discovered that Natalie never planned on paying them.
“Natalie, we’ve been selling your products door-to-door for weeks, and we’re not even getting paid?” One of the other widows, Kelly, asked Natalie. Lydia was there to get some answers too.
“I’m sorry, but my business is just starting so I can’t pay you right now, but I read that working takes your mind off things, and it’s important. You guys are both retired, right? This shouldn’t be a problem,” Natalie explained.
Neither of them was convinced, but Lydia decided to keep working because it took her mind off Joseph’s passing. But one day, Natalie invited her to her house. There were several other ladies from the group there, except Kelly.
“Listen, everyone! One of the most important parts of getting over losing our spouses is getting rid of the past. It’s important to let go of things that don’t bring you joy,” Natalie began. She continued talking about getting rid of material things because they didn’t matter.
Then she asked them to invest money in her business, and they would grow it together. Lydia wasn’t sure, but everyone gave her a check. Lydia caved too. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it was still part of her lottery winnings.
After a while, Natalie demanded more and more from the support group. Kelly approached Lydia after one of the meetings and showed concern. “I’m leaving the group. This has become more like a cult for Natalie’s MLM business, and I’m tired of it,” she said.
Lydia knew she was right but didn’t want to give up the friendships she made. She continued working for Natalie until she revealed a crazy idea.
“I want us all to live together like the big family we have become. It’s time to give up that past that has left you heartbroken, and we can build a new life together,” Natalie explained.
“What about our things? Our houses?” one of the newer ladies in the group asked.
“Well, we have to sell them and use that money to buy a big house for all of us,” Natalie suggested. “Or you can sign them over to me, and I’ll be in charge of selling them so that you guys don’t have to worry about that stuff.”
All the women started whispering, and Lydia didn’t know if they all agreed with this plan. But some of the younger members were close to Natalie and smiled at her. “Ok, the meeting is over. But let me know your decision by next week,” Natalie told everyone.
Lydia wasn’t sure what to do. Living in a house with many amazing women sounded fantastic, especially because she was so lonely. But giving up her home was a huge deal. She refused to sell when Joseph was alive. How could I sell it now? Lydia asked herself as she walked home from the meeting.
Lydia rubbed her hands on her coat, then she realized she had taken Joseph’s jacket before leaving the house. Searching through the pockets, she found a napkin with a message.
“I don’t want to fight anymore. We should save the money,” Joseph had written. He must have changed his mind that night at the diner but never got home. Lydia cried, and it was like something clicked in her heart.
What am I doing associating with that group? she thought, horrified. Natalie was taking advantage of everyone, and Lydia had been too caught up in grief to notice it. But that crazy woman was not going to take anything else from her.
She called some of the other ladies and urged them not to sign anything over to Natalie. But it was their choice in the end. Lydia also called Kelly and apologized for not seeing how horrible Natalie had been.
In the end, Lydia saved most of the lottery money for a rainy day but invested some of it with a reputable investment manager. She started earning a passive income thanks to the investment.
Her only regret was never being able to apologize to Joseph before he died.