Syrian Refugee Wins $312 Million Powerball Jackpot

MUNFORD, Tn. – Sayid Farzat hit a rare stroke of luck on Monday when he purchased a Powerball ticket on a whim from a gas station in Munford, Tennessee. “I just thought I’d try it out,” he told FOX 13 Memphis, adding, “It only cost me two dollars.”

Sayid, a twenty-four year-old Syrian refugee, arrived in the United States less than ten days ago after finally being approved for entry. Sayid and his cousin Nizar had been on a waiting list for more than a year. The cousins fled the Syrian city of al-Raqqa in early 2014, leaving behind more than a dozen family members who, at the time, believed an end to the brutal civil war, which has engulfed the country since 2011, was on the horizon.

Sayid said it’s unlikely his family will be able to come to the U.S. anytime soon. But, he said, he’s sending them “a couple million dollars” to help out. “I hope they’ll use it to safely get out of Syria,” Sayid said.

In the meantime, Sayid told FOX 13 Memphis, he and his cousin plan to use the Powerball winnings to purchase an apartment complex in the Munford area. “We want to have a place where we can live peacefully,” Sayid said, referring not only to himself but to other refugees arriving in the United States from Syria.

While grateful to be in the U.S. and out of harm’s way, Sayid said he knows many Americans are fearful of refugees coming from Syria. “We’re just people,” he said. “We have jobs, we are students, we have families. Just like you, we want to have a good life. But because of Assad and the Islamic State, we can’t have that in Syria.”

According to Tennessee lottery officials, Sayid has opted to receive his winnings, totaling $312 million, in one lump sum.

R. Hobbus J.D.

Investigative Journalist

R. Hobbus J.D. is an internationally acclaimed independent investigative journalist specializing in international politics, health, business, science, conflict resolution, history, geography, mathematics, social issues, feminism, space travel, civil rights, human rights... more

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