Mr. Nice Guy could be in line for share of jackpot

A couple thoughts this week while I try to come to grips with the fact that, as of today, there’s no longer a minor in my household. Somewhere in Florida today there sits a really nice guy.

You might be able to spot him. He will be the guy pounding his head against the wall and wondering why he is such a nice guy. Why, he wonders, did he have to be so polite.

In case you missed it, an 84-year-old Florida woman came forward this week and presented the winning ticket from the big Powerball jackpot from a couple of weeks ago. She walks off with the $590 million reward. Our anonymous friend must be content with that nice feeling that comes from doing a good deed.

Seems the lady went to her local supermarket to have the machine quick pick a lottery ticket for her. Well, like many other places as the jackpot was piling up, there was a bit of a line at this ticket-selling machine. So as the sweet, little 84-year-old woman approached the line, the aforementioned nice guy gave her the ol’ “after you, madam” treatment. He let her cut in line in front of him.

She gets the winning ticket. He gets the next one out of the machine. She opted for the one-time lump sum payment of just over $370 million. He gets the appreciation of the State of Florida for his “donation” to the Powerball cause.

As of this writing, no one knows the identity of this fine example to all of us of doing a good deed. I would guess in this “someone is always watching” world that we live in, there has to be some video somewhere.

Surely security cameras were close by. So, in the 48 hours since the announcement was made, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has been revealed. If proof positive comes out as to who this was, I’d imagine the pressure would go back to the winner to share a little something for the chivalrous.

Can you imagine if he wasn’t identified and the winner announced she would split the winnings if he were to come forward. They’d need a football stadium to hold everyone who came forward claiming to be the guy.

Too bad he didn’t leave a glass slipper behind.

Healing with age

I must not have been paying much attention to the calendar this past Monday. It was pretty late in the day before I realized it was June 3. For quite a few people around here, that date rings a bell. It was the 33rd anniversary of the day a series of tornadoes did major damage to much of Grand Island.

A stubborn storm that parked over town and wouldn’t go away dropped down tornadoes from the far northwest edge of town all the way down to the South Locust Street business district and many points in between.

It was with that in mind that I took a quick drive down South Locust a couple days after the 3rd. To look around, if you hadn’t known that Mother Nature had at one time flattened much of the area, you wouldn’t be able to tell. More than 300,000 people went down the same street last summer to get to the State Fair and I’ll bet most of them had no clue.

I saw the rebuilt brick grade school building that 33 years ago had an open-air gym with a roof and walls blown away. There was the strip mall on the lot that was home to a neighborhood bar I spent some time in, especially on “Piano Bar Tuesdays.”

There was the veterinarian’s office in what was then a nearly destroyed bank. There was the nice apartment complex that replaced a destroyed building that I had moved out of just weeks prior.

And the apartment building I called home at the time that somehow was spared while a convenience store 50 yards away was wiped out.

It made me think that someone should tell the people of Oklahoma that things will get better. What seems hopeless now can flourish again. It will get better.

Then I remembered, they’re Midwesterners, too.

They already know.  

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

Copyright © 2015