82-year-old Pinoy man wins in US lottery, but anxiety makes him cancel PH trip

Be careful what you wish for.

This may sum up the experience of Teofilo Mesina, 82, a Filipino living in the state of Virginia, USA. Balitang America did a feature on Mesina, who happened to be one of the winners of the Powerball jackpot.

Last Jan 13, more than a dozen lucky people matched all five white balls in the lottery. By then the prize money had gone up to US$1.5 billion, which was the biggest lottery prize in US history.

Mesina ended up with US$1 million. He revealed that he didn’t watch the historical drawing but when he checked his numbers on the night of Jan 13, he was surprised he matched the numbers 4/8/19/27/34. When he told his wife, Irene, she was also pleasantly shocked. “I said, ‘Thank you Lord for giving it to us’…if it’s really meant for us,” Irene said.

Teofilo and Irene are both retired. Teofilo used to work at a neon sign and light shop, while Irene worked for the Red Cross. They said their lottery win “would help secure their children’s future.”

Despite the happy news, the Mesinas didn’t tell anyone else about it. To be sure, they confirmed with the lottery office first. After paying the taxes associated with the prize, they ended up getting US$600,000.

Irene said, “We didn’t even tell our two daughters right away, not until after we got confirmation from the lottery office.”

Eventually, though, the winners of the historic Powerball draw were featured in the news. The Mesinas’ secret was soon out…to the whole world.

The report noted: “Teofilo and Irene were set to travel to the Philippines for their annual vacation this month. But after being publicly identified when they claimed their prize, they decided to postpone their trip.”

Teofilo explained, “One of my siblings called from the Philippines and told us to be careful when we go visit. I thought about it and I got worried that people who we couldn’t give money to would get mad. That’s why we decided to postpone our trip.”

In any case, the Mesinas don’t have an obligation to give away their money to anyone.

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