The Real Reason Why $3 Million Lottery Winner Regrets Winning the Prize

He thought his troubles were over. He thought wrong.

An autorickshaw driver in India who won more than $3 million in the national lottery isn't feeling too fortunate these days. The man, who made $170 a week and was on the verge of bankruptcy before his windfall, has been chased out of his own home by relatives and strangers asking him for money. Read on to find out how extreme the pressure has gotten, what he plans to do next, and the small mistake that could have prevented all his trouble.

1
60-Cent Ticket Produces $3 Million Windfall—And Trouble

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 The UK Times reports that Anoop Babu was so broke he had applied for a loan to cover his debts and was about to leave the country for a job opportunity as a cook. He raided his two-year-old son's piggy bank for money to buy a 50-rupee (about 60 cents) lottery ticket as he didn't have enough funds of his own. Then he won the jackpot: 250 million rupees (about $3 million U.S.). He thought his troubles were over. He thought wrong.

2
Winner Harassed At Home, On Street

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In the week since he won the prize, Babu has faced a litany of harassments: His phone has been ringing incessantly, people have shown up at his house begging for money, and some have even begun coming up to him on the street, tugging at his clothes and thronging around him. His neighbors have complained about the crowds around his house. 

3
Movie Producers Dangling Offers

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Babu told the Times that he had modest plans for his winnings: He wanted to pay off his debts, build a house, help out some relatives and charities, and start a small business in the hospitality industry. But some have grander designs on his money. Babu's wife Maya, who is pregnant, told local media that the couple had been offered parts in movies—for a price. "Some film producers are saying that if we give them 20 or 30 million rupees, they will give us roles in their films," she said.

4
Forced From His Own Home

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In a Facebook video, Babu said he was so disturbed by all the attention that he was planning to leave town permanently. "I went and stayed at my relative's house, but somehow people found that place too and came there," he said. "Now I came to my house as my child is unwell. I cannot even take my child to hospital as people are coming and seeking help."

5
Winner Could Have Stayed Anonymous

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India's national lottery allows winners to remain anonymous. The person who won the second prize chose to have his name withheld, but Babu didn't. He and his wife told the Times they wish they had won the second or third prize—50 million rupees and 10 million rupees—instead. All the publicity had come at just too high a price.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more
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