Everyone has fantasized about hitting the big prize at the lottery at least once in their lifetime. For some people, it’s a way of putting an end to their struggles and financial worries; others use the money to help out their friends and relatives; others just indulge in a lavish lifestyle and end up penniless shortly after.
Some, however, don’t even get to smell a whiff of the price. With more money come more problems, either in the form of leechers, taxes, or haunting debts from the past. That’s what happened to the protagonist of this story.
Lamar Walker’s life hadn’t been easy. He was born and raised in the slums of Statesville, North Carolina. There wasn’t a lot of money in the house; he had to start finding ways to pay the bills very early in his life and had even done time in jail.
If that kid had been told that he would win millions of dollars in the lottery years later, he probably would have had a hard time believing it; his life back then was a hustle, and it didn’t seem like the struggle would end anytime soon.
But when it finally happened, Lamar was already a 34-year-old man. Behind him were years of stories, grievances, and struggles he had to overcome.
Little did he know that his fortune was about to change for a minute. However, one thing his mom used to say was that “the same thing to make you laugh will make you cry.” And Lamar would learn that the hard way.
It happened like this: one morning, Lamar woke up, got in his car, and stopped by the nearest gas station.
He didn’t usually gamble, but this time, perhaps moved by some force of destiny, he bought one lottery ticket. He almost forgot about it until a few weeks later, when he received an unexpected email.
His first thought was that it was a scam; he didn’t even remember having bought the lottery ticket. But slowly, he came back to his senses, and he recalled that ticket that he had bought some weeks ago.
He had been the winner of a prize worth 1 million dollars! After first reading the mail, his mind went blank for a few minutes. He couldn’t believe it.
It seemed like he was finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. After all his struggles, all his financial worries, and all his debts, the worrying was finally over.
Unfortunately, as they say, when something seems too good to be true, it is usually isn’t. Lamar didn’t know it at the time, but his troubles were far from over.
At least he managed to have a few weeks of euphoria, fantasizing about all the ways he would spend his million.
But he still had a long administrative process ahead of him that would be crucial in whether he would be able to spend the prize the way he wanted or not.
First, he had to decide if he wanted to take his prize in a lump sum of $800,000 after taxes or have the million spread out on regular payments across 30 years.
Lamar chose the first option. He couldn’t wait to have that fortune in his hands, and he was already making plans on how to enjoy it. However, someone from his past, and the courts of justice, had other plans for him.
One of Lamar’s roughest past experiences was a long and difficult separation. He had an ex-wife, Elisha, and four children who lived with their mother.
It had been two years since Lamar and Elisha got divorced. Still, their disagreements hadn’t ended there.
Lamar’s difficult financial situation, or so he argued, made it impossible for him to pay any alimony or child support. After word got around that he had got his hands on a real fortune, Elisha filed a suit to get what she was entitled to.
One might think that it was only fair for him to pay what he owed his ex-wife and his children. But that wasn’t the whole story.
As said, Lamar and Elisha’s separation had been long and difficult. And it seems that on occasion, their disagreements and arguments were just too complex to be solved through dialogue.
Elisha had accused Lamar of trashing some goods at her property during one of their fights while they were going through the divorce process. Was she telling the truth?
Apparently, she was. Lamar was found guilty of crashing a car registered to Elisha during a heated argument and throwing some of her jewelry into the Bogue Sound lagoon.
It wasn’t very difficult to prove these deliberate actions against Elisha’s property: Lamar had filmed himself while committing them and uploaded the videos to social media.
So it wasn’t difficult for the courts to find him guilty of these offenses, and he was ordered to pay for these items. In addition to paying the missed alimony and child support, Lamar now owed Elisha an amount of $770,000.
Doing the math, this left Lamar with only $30,000. Of course, this was much less than he initially expected.
Lamar, of course, wasn’t happy with the court’s decision. He launched a campaign on social media to protest against what he regarded as an unfair resolution.
However, he soon saw that it was best to accept what the judge said and pay his wife and children what they deserved, even if it cost him almost all of his prize.
By this point, Lamar had decided to just settle for his losses and be grateful to come out a little ahead. Given his life struggles, Lamar realized that having $30000 leftover wasn’t the worst situation to be in.
It wasn’t easy not to be bitter about how things turned out, but Lamar comforted himself with the knowledge that Elisha and his kids were now well taken care of. However, this left him with questions about his own future.
Lamar was happy that his kids were better off now. He knew what it felt like to struggle and never wanted the same life for them. Unfortunately, while they were taken care of, Lamar still had to figure out his own future.
The cost of living wasn’t getting any lower, and the leftover money wouldn’t last forever. Lamar knew he needed a long-term plan.
Once news of Lamar’s lottery win began to travel, he realized how fickle people could be. During his worst struggles with trying to stay afloat, Lamar never remembered others being there for him.
He was starting to see why so many people chose to accept lottery winnings anonymously. Lamar was starting to lose his patience with other people. A call he received one afternoon was the last straw.
Lamar couldn’t recall his extended family and friends calling him as much in the past. “I never used to get calls from friends and family. People tend to ghost you when things aren’t going well.”
Now his phone never seemed to stop ringing. When he received a call from his cousin Mike, Lamar was furious.
Lamar couldn’t help but feel like Elisha had benefited the most from his good fortune. Cousin Mike, like so many others, called Lamar. “I hadn’t heard from him in years, and suddenly he’s calling me and being like, hey, we should get together soon.”
Suddenly everyone wanted to meet up or visit. Lamar was wise to people’s act now as he explained, “I lost it man and basically told my own cousin to get lost.”
Lamar regretted his past. His old behavior with Elisha had come back to bite him in the worst way. Lamar had been working on turning over a new leaf for a while now. He had made many past mistakes that he never wanted to repeat.
He knew now that getting mad never solved anything but Cousin Mike’s call was a step too far. Lamar felt like the lottery money had changed him, and it wasn’t for the better.
The actions of all his friends and family, who kept trying to get money out of him after winning the lottery, angered Lamar. He changed his number to avoid any more conflicts and began keeping to himself. At 34, Lamar knew he wasn’t getting any younger.
He needed to act fast to secure his future. Aware of just how many scammers there were out there, Lamar also knew he had to tread carefully with the last of his money.
Lamar began searching for safe investments he could make or ways to grow his money and find a sustainable way forward. Lamar’s childhood lacked opportunities, and he never had a college education. This left him with only menial jobs whenever he could actually find work.
Most months, he barely scraped by. Having a golden chance to secure himself financially, Lamar now faced new difficulties.
Having never been in a position to explore opportunities to invest, Lamar hadn’t anticipated how complex this world had become. Solutions like cryptocurrency and forex trading were thrown at Lamar, and he sometimes felt a little out of his depth.
Lamar did not know how these things worked and was afraid of being taken advantage of. He needed to find someone that could help, but he wasn’t sure if there was anyone left that he could fully trust anymore.
The longer Lamar sat with the money in his account, the more afraid and paranoid of wasting it he became. One day, as he walked through his childhood neighborhood, he suddenly spotted a familiar building.
Lamar immediately knew that there he could get help here. He finally remembered that there was still one person he could trust.
Despite Lamar’s rough upbringing, Lamar remembered that there was one place his mother could always count on when things got desperate.
As he entered the building, he immediately found the person he was looking for. Time had aged him, but he still had the same kind face. Lamar wondered if he would even remember him.
The place in question was an old church that Lamar’s mom used to take him to as a child. It was still run by Pastor David Holmes. Lamar was shocked when Pastor David immediately recognized him.
It had been many years since Lamar had seen him. However, when Lamar began speaking to him, it felt like not a single day had passed. Lamar was welcomed with open arms, and a strange feeling began to take over.
That feeling was a sense of being home again. Lamar had been struggling on his own for so long; he had forgotten how much comfort the church had provided his family in the past.
As he explained his current predicament, Pastor David promised to help. By the end, the Pastor said he knew exactly who to put Lamar in touch with. It seemed that things were finally looking up.
Keeping his promise, Pastor David later introduced Lamar to Mr. Morrison, who was a senior member of the church. Mr. Morrison worked in finance and used all his experience to help guide Lamar.
After helping to set up a portfolio for him, Lamar now had a small savings account that could slowly grow his money. Lamar could not believe how well it all turned out.
After trying for so long to turn over a new leaf and finally end the struggles, Lamar had finally found his new path. There was enough interest earned from his savings to give Lamar a small second income.
The rest of the money was used for long-term investments that could later grow into a retirement fund. There was just one last thing Lamar wanted to do.
Lamar was financially secure for the first time in his life. He began paying alimony monthly, and his relationship with Elisha and the kids improved. Lamar also began counseling church youth members so others could benefit from his life experiences.
Lamar donated the last $1000 of his winnings to the church. He no longer needed it. The lessons he had learned from the saga became more valuable to him than the money ever was.