STUTTGART — A few days before Christmas, Leslie Underwood, a waitress at Sportsmans Drive-In in Stuttgart, thought she would bring in the New Year $150,000 richer, splitting the grand prize of $300,000 on a scratch off ticket given to her and her co-worker Mandy Vanhouten by their boss.
Unfortunately for Underwood, that did not happen, as Vanhouten claimed the grand prize without Underwood’s knowledge.
Underwood then sought legal counsel, which resulted in a recent settlement.
“It was resolved for an undisclosed amount,” Underwood said.
Though the amount wasn’t what she expected, she said she is grateful for it.
“The way I’m looking at it is it was free money to me,” Underwood said. “It was more than what I had to begin with.”
In January, an anonymous person who was touched by Underwood’s story, which made national news, reached out to the local television news station offering an all-expense paid trip to Disneyland in California for her and her family.
“I’m still looking forward to the Disneyland trip,” she said.
Besides her Disneyland trip, Underwood has no plans to spend her new-found money.
“I’m going to act like I don’t even have it,” Underwood said.
Though the experience for Underwood isn’t one she would want to relive again, it gave her a warm feeling about the people in the community.
“This experience made me realize how many people you have on your side,” she said. “People were like, well, we are hoping and praying for you.”
It also exposed the truth behind a friendship Underwood thought was genuine.
“I had a lot of people tell me if it took $300,000 to figure out what your friendship was worth, I came up better off in the end,” she said.
When asked if the restaurant will continue the lottery ticket Christmas tradition, Underwood was hesitant to reply.
“Maybe,” she said. “We’ll see next Christmas.”