On Thursday, March 29, thousands of Nevadans chased a pipe- dream by clambering to the California state line. At Primm, the line of people waiting to buy lottery tickets was broken into two sections by 6.00pm. They were divided into a line of 300 and 500. The manager of the store that sells Mega Millions Lottery tickets was sitting in a golf cart at the end of line two, telling all newcomers that they would not get to go inside to purchase Lottery tickets before they closed at 8pm. The Nevadans in the second group had been told that they would most likely not get inside before closing time to make that purchase for a dream and that they should head down the highway some 45 miles to Baker where there were six stores that would be staying open until 2am selling Lottery Tickets.
The chance to win $540 million dollars will make people do strange things. The manager at the Primm Lottery store had informed me that her store had sold Mega Millions Lottery Tickets to over 10,000 Nevadans this week and she figured that they would sell Mega Millions tickets to at least 5,000 more on Friday. Since I was in the second half of the line once it was divided, I chose to continue to the next Lotto haven. Some twenty miles down highway 15, I came to the Cima Road exit where I found over 600 Nevadans in line waiting to buy Mega Millions tickets and another 50 cars looking for a place to park. Too much for me. I jumped back on the highway and headed to Baker. When I exited the highway at Baker, a town I go through every time I go to Cali I found myself in a traffic jam of Nevada license plates on the main road through town. At the first store I came to the parking lot was overflowing with cars and there were at least 600 people in line to buy magic tickets. I worked my way all the way through Baker to the last store selling Mega Million Lotto tickets and was pleased to find that its line was only about 200 deep. The town of Baker had more than tripled in population because of all the Clark County visitors looking to buy a chance at financial freedom.
So I got in line with the rest of the dreamers. Within 10 minute of my arrival there were another 200 Nevadans in line behind me. I ask Judith and Carl, her husband, if they would hold my place in line while I interviewed my fellow Clark County residents. I found that many of the people in line were holding orders for their co-workers and/or their neighbors. One gentleman from Spring Valley showed me that he had $2,200 in ticket orders for his friends and family. Since I have never had $540 million I asked people what they would do with the money if they won. Gary from Henderson told me that he would buy a 110 foot yacht with a heli-pad and a helicopter. Shannon from Grass Valley told me that she would travel the world. I had over 50 people tell me that they had lost their homes to foreclosure and would want to buy a home for themselves and their family members. I had many people tell me that they would be able to pay their medical bills and help loved ones with their bills. A few even said that they would give a lot of it away to charities they believed in. What I found running through each and every person’s reason for waiting in line for hours to buy Mega Millions Lottery tickets was HOPE.
After waiting in line for three hours I got back in my car like all the other Nevadans who were there and I wandered the 90 miles back home. I was reminded of a line in the wonderful movie “The Hunger Games” that that great actor, Donald Sutherland delivered: “The only emotion more powerful then fear is hope.” Yes, that is why all the thousands of Nevadans went to California this week and bought Mega Millions Lottery tickets. HOPE…