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A woman who missed out on her company’s lottery pool was in for a surprise when her co-workers hit the jackpot.

Jennifer Maldonado decided to sit out of the betting pool that was happening at Keller Williams Partner Realty because she couldn’t afford the US$20 (S$25) buy-in price. Maldonado had just joined the company after being unemployed.

While her co-workers offered to loan her the money, Maldonado refused and said she would join the next pool instead.

So when she heard that her colleagues had won US$1 million (S$1.2m) in the draw, she thought it was a joke, reported.

“I really thought they were pranking me, I was the new girl. I was the only one who didn’t put into the pool,” she said.

Laurie Finklestein Reader, who organised the pool, said she and the other 11 winners felt compelled to include Maldonado in the winnings.

“Jennifer joined our team on March 8, and we felt that she became a part of our family at that point,” Finklestein Reader said. “We felt we had been blessed with this incredible happening, and we wanted her to be a part of it and be able to feel what we were feeling.”

After taxes, the winners will each get US$83,333.33 (S$103,305), and while it is not clear how much Maldonado will receive, Finklestein Reader said she could expect “a big fat check”.

The employees – including Maldonado – will be organising another office pool, but not until the winning prize hits US$200 million (S$247m).

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