Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Restaurant Workers Hope for Real Win This Time

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Restaurant Workers Hope for Real Win This Time

Article excerpt

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS -- A series of missteps apparently led dozens of workers at Grissini restaurant to briefly believe they won the $900 million Powerball jackpot over the weekend, their mistaken and short- lived glee leading to massive media attention on Wednesday.

They cheered wildly on Saturday night in a video that went viral and was picked up by news outlets. The explanation for the mistake: One of the tickets they purchased contained the winning number from last Wednesday, not from Saturday. That was unlikely enough, since the odds against picking winning numbers are 292 million to 1. But that same ticket also contained the winning numbers from the two prior Powerball drawings, leading to questions about whether the whole thing had been staged.

"I do know it was not staged," said Angela Thomas, a publicist for the restaurant, adding that the joy of the employees was real on Saturday night. Workers said that at least one valet stopped parking cars and a dishwasher tossed his apron on the floor and victoriously declared that he would never wash another dish again during a short- lived celebration.

Workers and well-wishers packed the restaurant for Wednesday night's 10:59 p.m. Powerball drawing and were still checking the numbers late into the night. "This time, we're going to double- check," said Jimmy Torba, a waiter. The employees had purchased more than 200 combinations for the drawing. The numbers selected Wednesday night were 4, 8, 19, 27, 34, and 10. There was at least one winning ticket Wednesday night in California, according to The Associated Press.

Diego Moreno, a valet who purchased the ticket, said on Wednesday that he had used about 40 numbers submitted by employees and two of his relatives who live abroad when he purchased the tickets. The rest of the 105 numbers were selected randomly, he said. …

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