A Dubai-based Indian driver, who won the jackpot amount of 12 million dirhams in the Big Ticket raffle held at the Abu Dhabi International Airport on Tuesday, could not initially believe his friend’s call but is now convinced that he really won it and he should make the best use of it on family, friends and spare some for the needy.
John Varughese, a Keralite working as a driver for a private company in dubai since 2016, became the second Indian expatriate to become a multi-millionaire after the first one took home 12 million dirhams in January this year.
"I couldn’t believe that I could get lucky. April Fool’s Day had just passed by and I thought it was some friend pulling my leg. I also had doubts if this was a fake call as you read about lot of scams happening," Verghese told Khaleej Times. "Even though it was confirmed but I still took a while before calling my family back in Kerala. This is surreal and the new feeling of being a winner is slowly sinking in."
Varughes is now clear that he should share the prize money with four of his friends who had helped him in the past. To begin with, he wants to replace his basic phone with a smartphone.
About his family, he said he has a wife and two children. He is keen to invest in their future education.
Verghese said he had faced several hardships in Dubai and he will set aside a portion of his jackpot amount for those who need money facing similar hardships like him in Dubai. "I am here after facing lot of hardships. I will set aside a portion to help the needy too as I shouldn’t forget my past days," Varughese told Khaleej Times.
UAE has two biggest raffle draws — Abu Dhabi’s Big Ticket raffle and Dubai Duty Free’s Millionaire Draw, and two Indians have won the jackpots this year. The Big Ticket, which was started in 1992, saw 312 first prize winners and almost 80 per cent winners are Indian nationals. Out 264 winners of the $1 million dirhams at Dubai Duty Free since 1999, Indians were 125, said the report.