Finances aren’t the easiest thing for families to manage these days. For so many of us, living paycheck to paycheck doesn’t provide an opportunity to invest in our retirement. Such worries are no longer present for a Saskatoon bus driver who won a phenomenal $1.3 million slots jackpot earlier this week.
Paul Smith, a longtime resident of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, has been employed as a city transit worker for the last nine years. Following a random trip to the Northern Lights Casino in Prince Albert, his life has forever been changed, and driving a city bus will no longer play a part in it.
The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) recounted the amazing story Paul Smith as he spun his way to the $1.3 million Smoke Signals Jackpot at Northern Lights Casino over the weekend.
Mr. Smith told members of SIGA he was out of town on an extended joyride on his motorbike when he happened to find himself passing by the casino in Prince Albert. For no reason in particular, he decided to pull in and take a break and spin the reels for a bit.
The next thing he knew, the whole staff was cheering and gathering around, telling him he’d won the casino’s famous Smoke Signals slots jackpot.
“When it happened, I was kind of confused, I didn’t really know what was happening,” said Paul. “The staff all came up and told me, ‘you won the big one’… I was so flabbergasted when they congratulated me.”
The first thing Mr. Smith did was call up his wife Laurie to tell her the great news. It took some convincing before Mrs. Smith believed her husband had come into such lucrative fortune, naturally assuming he was just pulling her leg. Once she realized he really had won over a million dollars, she was beyond elated.
But Paul said the impact of what had happened didn’t actually sink in until he embarked on the long journey home.
“I wasn’t really excited until I got half way back to Saskatoon on my bike. I had to pull over, turn off the bike, look around to make sure there were no farmers around and I just ‘yeah’ (let out a scream)!” Paul recalled with whimsical enthusiasm. “It was a pretty good feeling.”
He and his wife showed up at the Northern Lights Casino on Wednesday to claim his prize of $1,314,412.60 and pose for photos with the traditional over-sized cardboard cheque. Paul said he hasn’t gone off splurging on purchases just yet, though he did buy a new car and has plans to pay off all of their debts, including the mortgage on their home.
One that’s done, he said, “the rest is going in the bank”, and he plans to see a financial advisor to invest most of the slots jackpot winnings. “I want to make it last,” said Mr. Smith.
He also noted that, “as soon as the money is in the bank,” he’ll be retiring from his job with city transit.