In 1999, a man named Timothy Schultz was twenty-one years old and working at a gas station when his ticket for the Powerball hit for a whopping $29 million prize. His excitement didn’t last for long, because his twenty-year-old co-worker, Sarah Elder, claimed that she split the cost of the ticket with him, and was entitled to half the winnings. The dispute became very complicated, as the two sides couldn’t agree on their story, and the law became involved as the winning ticket was in question.
These two ex-coworkers may have played the dumbest game of chicken of all time. They were holding almost $30 million dollars above a roaring fire and they both seemed content dropping it in instead of letting the other one win. I can respect someone being a little too stubborn for their own good. Hell, I once backed into a friend’s motorcycle and had to pay $200 in damages because another friend told me I wouldn’t. But these people came way too close to butchering the best thing that ever happened to them in life.
Fortunately for you, I’ve watched the episode of It’s Always Sunny where they argue about the ownership of a lottery ticket enough times to be somewhat of an expert on the subject. Both of them had a lot of room to play this situation better. Schultz takes this ticket and claims sole ownership of it, as he should. He then points out that she is under the legal age to purchase a ticket, and probably offers her nothing. This is the same type of mistake as being mean to the people who serve you food. If you don’t want to wonder if there are pubic hairs mixed into your chicken parm, respect the people who have power over you. This is where Elder really makes her play. She realizes that she has the ability to be the wildcard in this situation. If she takes him to court, she wins nothing and she knows it. Despite this, she also knows this is her best way to take control of the situation. Apparently, this went on for months until the day before the hearing, when they finally settled.
This story has been told through Timothy Schultz who has since become a wealth advisor. He seems to talk about it like he won this situation. Sure, he still did receive a ton of money, and was able to quit his job and blah blah blah. Let’s read between the lines though. They settled the day before the hearing. A day when Sarah Elder had nothing to lose and everything to gain. The two of them agreed to keep the details of their agreement silent, which is what I would do if I was played by myself and my coworker. Let Schultz tell his story if he wants. But let’s remember Sarah Elder, for being the opportunistic champion that she is. You have to respect that hustle.