Thursday, May 24, 2018
News Roundup

Clearwater woman won't quit job after winning $700,000 lottery prize

CLEARWATER — Alexandra Chaar loves her job.

So much so that a $700,000 lottery prize hasn't done anything to persuade her to leave it.

Chaar, 21, a college student who has worked as a server at Casa Tina Mexican restaurant for more than a year, won the cash in the state's $1-million Monopoly Scratch-Off Game this week.

Although she took a day off Thursday, she said she has no plans to quit her job.

Chaar won the $1 million prize but opted for a one-time payment of $700,000.

According to a news release from the Florida Lottery, Chaar had been feeling lucky and began buying scratch-off tickets at Food Mart, 601 Mandalay Ave., on Clearwater Beach.

She went there so often, she said, the workers began to recognize her.

"They said up to this point, their store had never had any big winners, but I just had this lucky feeling," she said.

Chaar, who attends St. Petersburg College, said she plans to use the money for her tuition.

Linnea Vann-Lang, a manager at Casa Tina, said she can't think of anyone more deserving of the money.

"She has the biggest heart of anyone I've ever met," Vann-Lang said. "I'm so happy for her. It's so cool."

Was she surprised to hear Chaar would be returning to waiting tables?

"No, because we're a family here," Vann-Lang said. "Honestly, it's not just work."

Chaar is Clearwater's third big lottery winner in the last three months.

Judyann Robbins, 64, won the Fantasy 5 top prize of $273,837.57 on Nov. 5. In early January, the lottery announced that Jonathan Dick, 24, won the Monopoly Scratch-Off game's million-dollar prize. He also opted for the $700,000 lump sum.

Robbins bought her ticket at Publix at 1921 N Belcher Road. Dick bought his at Hess Express at 2577 Harn Blvd.

Lottery spokeswoman Shelly Safford said Clearwater's recent lucky streak isn't all that unusual.

"We've always had lots of winners from the Clearwater-St. Pete area," Safford said. "Certain areas may go through peaks and valleys."

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