Aussie legend – I won the lotto and gave it away!

Proof that good karma is everything!

Peter scooped a fortune, but it’s what he’s doing with the money that’s the best part of all.

Here, Peter Charlton, 46, from Yarra Ranges, Victoria, shares the story in his own words. 

 Another trip to the doctor meant more bad news.

‘He won’t survive the year,’ the GP said, talking about my uncle, Charlie.

The news wasn’t a shock. In his late 60s, poor Uncle Charlie had end-stage chronic lung disease.

But as I helped Charlie out to the car, some of my dad John’s last words rang in my ears.

‘Look after Charlie for me,’ Dad had said before he passed away in 2014.

Charlie, who was Dad’s youngest brother, didn’t have any kids, so Dad only meant that I should call in and check up on him occasionally.

But six years on, his wishes took on a whole new meaning.

I’ve always been a softie. I think my big heart came from Dad, who was the most generous bloke I’ve ever known.

‘It doesn’t matter how big or small, if you can do something for someone, just do it,’ he always taught me.

Over the years, I’d gone a bit overboard!

Peter Charleton with bouncy castle
Me with one of my jumping castles

I ran a free jumping castle service, spending many a weekend lugging it to kids’ parties. I never made a cent, in fact it cost me money! But seeing families so happy made me feel happy too.

In 2017, I saw a story in the local newspaper about a lady called Anne, 59, who’d been struggling with depression and could no longer tend to her garden.

I was only going to pull up a few weeds but I ended up doing three days. 

that’s life! even heard about it and wrote a story.

As always, I loved helping out, but now, my own flesh and blood needed me.

‘Why don’t you come and stay with us Uncle Charlie?’ I suggested.

So he moved in with me and my family. And despite all the medical predictions, Uncle Charlie soldiered on for months.

I became his full-time carer, rigging up a bell system so he could call me any time day or night.

When I wasn’t working, I was with Charlie.

A year later, my partner and I separated.

And when Uncle Charlie passed away in July this year, I found myself alone but not altogether unhappy.

Charlie wasn’t suffering anymore and I was proud that I had been able to look after him until the end.

Uncle Charlie and Shirley
Uncle Charlie and my mum, Shirley

Two weeks later, I was getting ready for my week with my nine-year-old daughter, Chelsea.

Popping to the shops, I picked up some rabbit cages for her new pets.

Using Uncle Charlie’s pocketknife, I cut the cable ties on them then put the knife on the roof of my car. I only remembered it when I was on the main road home.

That’ll be gone, I realised, annoyed.

But when I did get home – 50km and an hour later – I was amazed to see the knife was still there.

‘Maybe my luck’s changing,’ I laughed, making a video for social media. ‘I’d better buy a lotto ticket!’

The next day, I was out when I remembered the promise to myself.

My local lotto shop would be a detour so I ended up grabbing three QuickPick tickets in Lower Plenty.

Leaving them on my dashboard, it was the next day, August 2, before I checked them.

I downloaded the TattsLotto app and scanned the tickets.

The first one was a fail. Second one came up with nothing.

What a waste of money, I groaned as I scanned the third ticket.

Suddenly, something flashed up. You are a high winner, it said.

A huge number ran across my screen – $896,511.13!

It couldn’t be right… could it? I deleted the app, turned off my phone and then reloaded it.

Scanning the ticket again, the same message came up.

My hands were shaking as I called the number at the bottom and had it confirmed.

I’d won nearly $1 million!

Chelsea and her rabbits
Chelsea and her rabbits

Ringing my brother, Andrew, and mum, Shirley, they couldn’t believe what had happened either.

After a few more calls, I let it sink in.

I don’t need to tell everyone, I realised.

In fact, I had a better way of letting people know about my new fortune…

It was a tense 17 days before the money was transferred into my account.

By then, I knew exactly what I was going to do with the windfall.

I put some aside to pay off my mortgage and bought second-hand cars for myself and my ex.

Next, I wanted to help all the people I’d always seen struggling and never been able to do anything for.

My immediate family got the biggest deposits, with each of them receiving enough to take the pressure off. Then, my huge extended family, followed by various friends who had been doing it tough.

Chelsea Charleton checking Lotto tickets
Carefully checking our lotto tickets

A local family’s house had burnt down a few months before.

Suddenly, I was in a position to do something.

‘I’ve done over an armoured vehicle and have all this cash I need to hide,’ I told a few people as I transferred huge sums.

‘Are you serious?’ they gasped, as I burst out laughing.

I had as much fun handing out my winnings as they had receiving it.

One evening at the takeaway, I paid for everyone’s pizza.

By the time this story is out, I’m pretty sure I’ll be broke again, but I’ll be happy broke.

A set of weird coincidences put me on this path and I like to think that Uncle Charlie was behind it all.

He couldn’t help me in this life but he’s managed it in transit to the next.

For that, I, and all the people around me, will be forever grateful. ●

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