For now, Florida's newest and apparently shyest new millionaire has
yet to come forward and the suspense is just about killing everyone in
"My boss says it must not be you since I'm picking you up for work this morning," said Casey Pratt of Zephyrhills.
"I haven't really heard too much, I've been reading in the paper and somebody's lucky," said Brian McEwen of Zephyrhills.
There have been rumors, but up to this point no confirmation.
The only thing that has been confirmed is that somebody bought that ticket at the Publix on 301 in Zephyrhills...
And that's about all anyone knows about the lucky winner at this point.
"I don't blame them for not saying because they'll probably have people they don't know coming out of the woodwork," said Pratt.
In the meantime lottery officials have some advice for the anonymous millionaire.
"The first advice that we would give the winner is to sign that ticket. That ends any false disputes that may come up in the future and also put that ticket in a safe spot. That little piece of paper is worth $590 million. It's pretty valuable," said David Bishop of the Florida Lottery.
Lottery officials aren't the only ones offering tips on what to do.
"I would hide if I was them too," said Pratt.
"I just hope that the person who did win keeps it quiet," said Cindy Tabor of Zephyrhills.
"They're all wanting to know who won, everybody wants to know who won," said Pratt.
The multi-mullion dollar Powerball winner has not come forward yet, but that's not stopping everyone in the small town of Zephyrhills from speculating on who the mystery winner is.
From rumors like an employee at Walmart who called off, to the bagboy at Publix, to a single mother of four, to a single Hispanic man -- we have not been able to confirm any of them.
"Those are all the stories that I've heard," said Zephyrhills Mayor Danny Burgess. "I don't know any more than anybody else. This is the best-kept secret in town and if somebody knows, they're not saying and it's a small town and you know secrets don't get kept in small towns."
"Brian, is it you?," we asked Brian McEwen at Massey's Barber Shop. "No, I wish it was!"
"Um, unfortunately, it's not me," laughed barber Kirk Calloway as he cut McEwen's hair. Tragic. tragic, absolutely."
"C'mon Mayor, you just whisper it to me," we joked with Burgess. "I've got nothing!," he laughed.
"Is it you?," we asked Cindy Tabor. "No, I wish it was!," she laughed. "I just hope that the person who DID win, keeps it quiet. Why is that? Well, what happened to Abraham Shakespeare."
"They all want to know who won!," exclaimed Casey Pratt, who was working the window at the Corner Grille. "Everybody wants to know who won!"
"You guys are right on the corner here, you probably hear all the scoop in Zephyrhills, so what do you know?," we asked Pratt. "A lotta stuff," she laughed. "But I don't know if I should tell it! "Wait, so do you know who the winner is?," we asked. "No I sure don't, but my boss says, it must not be you, since I'm picking you up for work this morning!"
"I think this person's probably doing the right thing, laying low for now, because obviously there's been so much attention that comes along with this," said Burgess. "So, while we really want to know, we also want to respect the individual's right to just revel a while in the moment for a little while, before they're famous!"
The Mayor says his city is sort of struggling with a similar issue some big box stores have. That people outside of Florida may not exactly get the pronunciation of Zephyrhills, as all one word. They like to pluralize the word or break it into two words.
"Zephyrs Hills, that's a good one," said Burgess. "Zephyrs Hills. We have the Kmarts, the Walmarts Marts, we do, we have it all."
"Yeah, it's a hard word to spell I guess to some people," said McEwen.
"I've heard Zee-fur, Zee-fur Hills and I've heard Zep with a 'P', Zepper Hills," said Calloway. "I've heard, oh, that's the water place, yeah, that's got the famous water and we do have very good water!"
"We're the city of pure water, we have a lot to offer, we're also the center for the biggest power ball winner in the country!," said Burgess excitedly. "This has been incredible, I mean, the coverage that we're getting couldn't be more positive, we're getting to showcase our town, it's a great place to live, if there weren't enough reasons to love Zephyrhills already, here's another one. We're the luckiest town in the country."
And in the parking lot of the same Publix which sold the winning ticket, we ran into another winner. Ronald Weir. He too won something in that massive power ball drawing.
While not exactly a huge win, Weir told us he was thrilled just to have won something. 12 dollars for picking just the Powerball number itself, the number 11.
"I won the actual Powerball number, and I received 12 dollars in the same city. I said whoa, I won, and this is the first time I've ever won anything, but I'm happy with what I won."
Weir said, hey, it was at least worth a couple of lunches and that's a good thing. Who the other bigger winner is, is still the talk of the town. What he or she will do with all of their winnings is also something, we may never know.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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