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Wells Fargo lottery winners poker-faced as they return to work

Aug 7, 2018, 12:00 pm

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Mega Millions

Customers strolling into a South San Jose Wells Fargo this morning had no idea that millionaires would be cashing their checks.

The branch, near Snell Avenue and Branham Lane, was all smiles as clients expressed surprise and joy for the tight-lipped winners of the $543 Mega Millions jackpot working inside.

The Wells Fargo workers are the 11 winners of a half-billion-dollar Mega Millions jackpot won in July. The California Lottery did not publish their identities, but the press quickly figured out who they were. It is common for the press to do extra digging for information when lottery winners refuse to give a brief press conference. 

"They were all happy-happy-happy!" said Darlene Medina who stepped in to the lucky bank Monday morning. "They were very enthused!"

The extra enthusiasm, however, was the only giveaway that something out of the ordinary had happened at the bank as employees remained silent about their branch's lotto-luck. They decided to receive a one-time payout of $29 million each, according to lottery officials.

"I tried asking who won, but they told me they couldn't say," said Cornelius Lopez, a retired San Jose resident who has been a long-time customer of the branch.

After unexpectedly closing its doors on Saturday, the day after the winners were announced, the bank re-opened on Monday, braced for the attention and speculation that would come its way. Lowered blinds, a conspicuous lack of name plates and a communications consultant stationed at the bank were just some of the branch's attempts to tame the swelling anticipation.

"They remain quiet, very quiet," said Ash Madraswala, a San Jose realtor, who heard a rumor that one of the winners has temporarily left town to escape the extra attention.

To the questions of whether the winners were at the branch that day — how they celebrated — what they would do with their money — Wells Fargo representatives offered no official comment.

And in the face of the branch's reticence, customers turned to speculating over whether the winners would continue work at the Wells Fargo location given their newfound riches.

"I guess they're going to need new employees," said Ricardo Alvarez, a student at San Jose State.

In addition to expressing curiosity, clients pleasantly surprised by their financiers' success were thrilled for the familiar faces they've been doing business with for years. "This is the best bank," said Jamshed Khan, "They deserve it."

Ahmed Abdo learned of the office's lottery win as he was entering the bank. "I had no idea!" he said. Abdo had heard that the winners worked at a Wells Fargo, but never considered that his local branch would be the lucky one. "I'm surprised, I'm shocked," he said as he rushed in to congratulate the employees. 

Amid the fanfare, Wells Fargo representatives seemed eager to get back to business as usual.

As Jose Tamayo, an Uber driver and photographer coming in to cash a check said today, "This doesn't make them any different. They just got more money than me right now."

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