A winning ticket for the second-largest Powerball jackpot in history has stirred up the tiny California town where it was purchased by a yet-to-be-revealed customer.
Residents of Frazier Park, a quaint mountain community of 3,100 people about 75 miles north of LA, are dying to know if the lucky winner of the $1.76 billion prize is one of their own.
Nidal “Andy” Khalil, who since 1994 has co-owned the Midway Market & Liquor store where the winning ticket was purchased, said he hopes it was one of his regulars.
“I found out about 9:30 pm last night, actually through social media,” Khali told The Post with a smile.
“I didn’t even believe it at first. I think this could be the biggest thing that’s ever happened at Frazier Park. I hope it is one of my regular customers because we have a few who buy tickets every day.”
The beloved shopkeeper and Syrian immigrant said he plans to save a chunk of the store’s $1 million payout from the winnings for his children’s college education fund.
His nephew Chris Khalil, who works at the family store, said he was pleasantly shocked by the news. He is getting married in the next few months and the extra funds will come in handy, he said.
News of the Powerball winnings spread like wildfire through Frazier Park, which is mostly made up of retirees, veterans and “lifers.”
In a local Facebook group, many residents questioned and theorized who the mysterious winner could be. Some put out a plea for the winner to use some of the money to pay for public park restoration and town building upgrades.
At the local watering hole Sue’s Tavern, customers shook their heads in amazement and disappointment that they didn’t buy the golden ticket.
Many, however, said they were glad that Khalil will get some cash out of the deal. About five people nursing their beers and other drinks said they were pleased to see the Syrian immigrant and long-time store owner awarded the seven-figure payout as they described his charitable and kind nature.
Locals who stopped into Midway Market & Liquor Store Thursday walked in and shook Khalil’s hand, congratulating him on the win.
“We were here last week and I told Andy, ‘We are due! We are going to get that big hit,’” resident Dale Chester said.
Sue’s Tavern patron Nick Miller, meanwhile, said if he had the winning ticket, he wouldn’t tell anybody.
“My mom, my sister, and my wife — if I had one — wouldn’t even know and I would get divorce papers drawn up quickly,” Miller, 42, joked. “If it was me, I wouldn’t tell anyone because that’s Kim Kardashian-like money. That’s no joke.”
The winning numbers were 22, 24, 40, 52, 64, and the red Powerball 10.