Getting a Keno ticket as a tip might feel like a slight by some servers, but Aurora Kephart, 25, of the Thurston area of Springfield, Oregon, has been getting these from one bar regular for years. To say that the gesture finally paid off is an understatement, as the waitress at Conway’s Restaurant and Lounge recently found out that one of her Keno tickets was worth $17,500!
According to an article in The Register-Guard, the male patron, who has asked to remain anonymous, asked Kephart to pick two of his tickets on Tuesday night. The first yielded $5, but Kephart couldn't believe her luck with the second. In fact, she even tried to give the winning ticket back to the man.
“The look on his face was incredible,” Kephart said. “I automatically handed it back to him; it was his ticket.”
The man wouldn't take the ticket back, however, and made sure Kephart signed it so she would be the only one who would be able to cash in on the winnings.
“The reaction (in the bar) was crazy,” she said. “Everyone was so amped up. I mean, how often does that happen somewhere like Thurston?”
The bar sounds like it’s the Pacific Northwest’s version of Cheers, as Kephart describes it as “80 percent regulars,” going on to say, “People were so excited for me.”
Although the winnings are modest in comparison to some, Kephart felt compelled to give the patron a percentage of the winnings.
“I just couldn't not give him some of it,” she said.
The bar regulars have given Kephart plenty of good-natured ribbing about her plans for the rest of the money, which she plans to use to buy a couch.
“I never realized how expensive couches were,” she said. “Instead of waiting till Christmas or later, now I can buy something I really need.”
This story kind of reminds of the Nicolas Cage/Bridget Fonda movie It Could Happen To You – on a much smaller scale, of course. Nevertheless, it sure warms the heart!