||| NBC Philadelphia |||
Will you forget your “best friend” and break your promise of sharing the blessing if you’ve won the lottery ticket?
A long-term friendship may be over as a waitress in Arkansas claims that she is the rightful co-owner of a $300,000 winning lottery ticket her supposed friend and co-worker scratched off. Problem is the other waitress ran off with the winning ticket, leaving behind a shocked and betrayed friend.
The waitresses at Sportsman Drive-In in Stuttgart all received lottery tickets from their boss as gifts a week before Christmas. Leslie Underwood shares that their boss told them that should anyone of them win, it should be split between the waitresses to serve as Christmas bonus.
Underwood then scratched off a pile with her friend and co-worker Mandy Vanhouten. It was Vanhouten who scratched off a $300,000 Fortune $10 instant ticket. The said ticket won the top prize.
The two friends were on the same shift that time and made plans of splitting the winnings and claiming the prize together in the new year. But Vanhouten ran off, taking with her the winning ticket.
Underwood would only learn from seeing a photo that her erstwhile friend had already received the check. Vanhouten had a huge smile on her face in the said photo.
The left-out friend admittedly became emotional when she saw the photo, and how her friend of long standing betrayed her for money. They have been best friends for nearly a decade.
She has not heard from her “winning” friend since then. The mother of five shared how hurt she was by what Vanhouten did. She could not help but recall all the good things and favors she did for her friend. She said: “I helped her get the job, put in a good word, stuck my neck out for her, let her stay with me so she didn’t have to drive back and forth. I think that’s what hurt me the most is as much as I’ve done, she could have done right for once.”
Vanhouten has yet to report back to work this week after getting her check for the winning ticket.
Underwood said she will take legal action should Vanhouten still refuse to hand her share when they finally meet again. The thing is Vanhouten is the only one who signed the back of the ticket.
It is not clear if Underwood’s claims would have a legal bearing, given that it was Vanhouten who scratched the winning ticket. It is not clear if their prior agreement or the wishes of the boss would have weight should she Underwood challenge Vanhouten.
What’s clearer is that a friendship has been affected, if not damaged, as a winning and money came between them.
Efforts to contact Vanhouten to get her side of the story proved futile when she chose not to call back or answer inquiries.