Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group 
                                Betsy and Amir Shirazi stand in front of Payless Foods in Freeland, where the winning ticket was purchased last month.

Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group Betsy and Amir Shirazi stand in front of Payless Foods in Freeland, where the winning ticket was purchased last month.

Whidbey couple wins $50,000 in state lottery

So many things could have gone differently the day Betsy and Amir Shirazi won the lottery.

Coming back home on the evening of Jan. 19, the Freeland couple stopped at Payless Foods to buy lottery tickets from the machine in the store.

If they had stopped at the Goose Community Grocer instead, they wouldn’t have won.

If they hadn’t had troubles with the ATM at the nearby gas station, they wouldn’t have won.

And if they hadn’t been so polite, they wouldn’t have won either.

While debating what type of ticket they wanted to buy, they allowed a cashier in line behind them to go ahead. She was nearing the end of her lunch break and in a hurry to make her purchase.

The cashier told the couple about a new type of card called Golden Nugget, which had prizes like cash amounts and trips to Las Vegas.

When the Shirazis stepped up to the machine, they decided to take the cashier’s advice and buy four Golden Nugget scratchers.

The result was a $50,000 payoff.

“I thought it couldn’t be true,” Betsy said.

She was in shock.

“She wouldn’t talk to me,” Amir said.

Like most things in their lives, it had been a team effort. Amir bought the ticket, and Betsy scratched it.

The couple spent the next agonizingly long day waiting. It was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the nearest Washington Lottery office in Everett wasn’t open until 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

The following morning, they woke up at 3 a.m., boarded one of the first ferries of the morning and headed to the mainland to claim their prize.

They took pictures at the lottery office and sent them to their friends, who thought it was a joke.

“You never think, ‘It’s going to happen to me.’ You always think somebody else is going to get it,” Amir said.

Betsy agreed.

“It doesn’t take a person who is buying all the time or spending a great amount of money,” she said.

After a few minor setbacks, the Shirazis were able to claim their winnings, sans some for taxes, on the same day.

For them, winning came as a godsend.

“We had prayed for a miracle, because we were kind of finding ourselves in a difficult situation,” Betsy said.

The couple has lived on Whidbey for the past four years but they have struggled with finding employment with health care benefits.

They plan to use the majority of the winnings for much-needed financial security in the remaining years leading up to their retirement. They also may take a trip around the state, which they said they haven’t explored enough yet.

“The plan is to be smart,” Betsy said.

More in Life

Photo by Georgia Edwards
                                David Welton has been building a 1/6 scale model of a 1916 Bristol M-1C, a British WW1 fighter named “Red Devil.” With more time spent at home recently, he estimates the project will be finished within the next few weeks. For story, see page A2.
He’s a model for using quarantine time constructively

With recent orders from the governor to stay home, several Whidbey residents… Continue reading

Easter baskets for those in need

Whidbey kids may be receiving an early visit this year from the… Continue reading

Residents craft face masks in response to shortage

Sometimes problems require creative solutions. In the midst of a shortage of… Continue reading

Rare visitor appears at Crockett Lake Preserve

Jann Ledbetter is accustomed to seeing raptors perched on the weathered posts… Continue reading

Photo by Brandon Taylor/Whidbey News Group
                                Daniel Tarango makes a pulled rib sandwich in the BBQ Joint on Midway Boulevard in Oak Harbor.
Your social distancing survival guide

Athough dine-in service is not allowed and social distancing is the order… Continue reading

Photo by Brandon Taylor/Whidbey News-Times John Del Prete’s fourth-grade class finally sees their published book, “Invisible Pollution in the Salish Sea,” since beginning the project in September.
4th grade students publish book on Salish Sea

John Del Prete’s fourth-grade class crowded around two cardboard boxes stacked on… Continue reading

Plenty to eat and drink for St. Patrick’s Day

Although many public events have been cancelled in the wake of the… Continue reading

Rockin’ a Hard Place: Love in the time of coronavirus

Last weekend, as I have for the past three years, I volunteered… Continue reading

‘The food abides’ at new Bayview restaurant

Frequenters of the Goose Community Grocer may have noticed a recent change… Continue reading

Some South Whidbey events are still planned during next week

Due to growing concerns related to the coronavirus, most of the calendar… Continue reading

Coming clean about goats

For Molly Jacobson, the creation of her Clinton soap business has involved… Continue reading

Creative workshop offers jewelry with hints of spring

Nature lovers will have a chance to create their very own jewelry… Continue reading