Pinto Paul Thommana,a man from Kerala, India, and his friend Francis Sebastian decided to buy a ticket at the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Draw. They pitched in to buy the number 2465, which was not their first choice.
Thommana said: “The ticket we first selected couldn’t be purchased because of an error online, and on our second try, we got this one.”
Sebastian, whom Pinto calls his “brother”, shared in the cost of the winning ticket. The two friends have known each other since the eighth grade, and were neighbours in Kerala, India.
Thommana initially thought the call informing him of the news was a prank. He said: “I thought it was one of my friends calling me, as a joke.”
He believed only after getting calls from other people after the news was published online. Thommana said his family was struggling financially and this incredible surprise would greatly change their lifestyle.
He said that he has no plans as of now, but a part of the money will surely go into his children’s education. He has two children, four and two years old, with another baby on the way.
He said: “I would definitely use it for their schooling. I will do the maximum for that.”
Sebastian, a 35-year-old showroom salesman, works for an automotive company and is also based in Sharjah.
He told: “I have known Pinto for a long time, we are childhood friends from school. I have participated in this raffle five times before this with other people, but, this is the first time Pinto and I tried our luck together and we hit the jackpot!”
Sebastian’s wife Leone Francis is celebrating her birthday today.
Sebastian said: “It is a double celebration for us. There is so much excitement, my family still can’t believe this and my friends are constantly congratulating me.”
He does not have any immediate plans for the money but said: “I’ve always wanted to settle with my parents, I plan to continue at my current job and plan to bring my parents to Dubai for some time, at least.”