Homeless Man Hits $500,000 Jackpot on Lottery Ticket
The tides have turned for a homeless man down on his luck in Aspen now that he's hit a scratch-off lottery jackpot.
Michael Engfors, 61, purchased one of the Colorado Lottery's $10 "Eternal Splendor" ticket Friday afternoon at an Aspen gas station.
Engfors, a local who's spent most of his life in the resort town, stood outside as he scratched the ticket before running back inside yelling, "I won" after revealing he'd won $500,000.
The odds of such a win are 840,000 to 1, according to the Colorado Lottery.
Engfors, who's been homeless for about six years since he was divorced and lost his business during the Great Recession, spent one last weekend sleeping on the floor of St. Mary Catholic Church before cashing in his ticket Monday, NBC News reports.
Dr. Vince Savage, Executive Director of the Aspen Homeless Shelter, personally drove Engfors to the lottery offices in Grand Junction, where he tells INSIDE EDITION the staff simply wrote Engfors a check.
Engfors has declined to be interviewed about his win. Savage called Engfors an excellent carpenter who he'd hire to do work around the shelter from time to fime.
"He's a hardworking, humble local guy. He's worked all his life," Dr. Savage said.
Going forward, Savage said Engfors only said he plans to visit his daughter, whom he hasn't seen in years.
Savage also said he plans to lend Engfor whatever guidance he might need to ensure this windfall helps him stay on his feet.
"It really fosters hope for everybody," Savage said of the win.
Acknowledging that some might question why there are homeless in a glimmering resort town full of the rich and famous like Aspen, Savage said there are always two sides to the tracks.
"You either own three homes or you work three jobs to try to keep up," he said of the city.
The Aspen Homeless Shelter was created to help those who have trouble jumping what he calls the hurdle of "first, last and deposit" when trying to rent a home.
While Engfors can now make that hurdle, Savage said it's unlikely he'll be chatting to the press like a celebrity anytime soon. "He's a shy guy," he said.