They call him “Papa Joe.”
A Syrian immigrant who moved to the U.S. in 1980 in search of the American Dream, Joseph Chahayed appears to be living it.
Papa Joe is the man who sold the $2 billion Powerball lottery ticket at his gas station, Joe’s Service Station in Altadena, California, earlier this week.
As part of California Powerball rules, the retailer who sells the winning ticket receives O.5% of the jackpot, which is capped at $1 million, making Joe Chahayed a millionaire overnight.
Wearing a ‘Millionaire made here’ T-shirt, Chahayed said at a California Lottery press conference that he plans on sharing the money with his family.
“We are excited,” he said. “I have 11 grandchildren, and I’ll share with them.”
Joe Chahayed who sold the winning ticket in the $2.04 billion Powerball drawing at his Altadena Mobil station, says he had a feeling there was going to be a winner among his customers. Video by @deanmusgrove for @PasStarNews @SoCalNewsGroup https://t.co/Mggu1oXG1X pic.twitter.com/DoFiAxzCyN
— Steven Rosenberg (@passthejoe) November 8, 2022
Who is Papa Joe?
Chahayed’s son describes his 75-year-old father as tireless and hardworking.
“Seventy-five years old, and he refuses to take a day off,” he said.“He’s up at like 5 a.m. every day. No one deserves it as much as he does.”
Chahayed, the father-in-law of former NFL player Domata Peko, has owned his Mobil gas station for 20 years.
He described the station, which is just north of Pasadena, as being in a “very poor neighborhood,” telling the Pasadena Star News, “From the bottom of my heart, I hoped somebody would win…they deserve it.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that Chahayed is known around the community for having a generous spirit.
Kenny Devine, a customer, said Chahayed gave him permission to run a pop-up shop for his jeans company out of the gas station parking lot.
Chahayed has also loaned Devine’s sister money numerous times.
“Joe is the most, bar none, friendly person that I know,” said Devine.