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Christmas lottery winner is unemployed migrant woman who gives glory to God

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Oscar Gonzalez / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP

Ángel Abaga sings the number of the “Gordo” cash prize of the 2022 Christmas Lottery Extraordinary Draw, number '05490', at the Royal Theater in Madrid, on December 22, 2022.

Dolors Massot - published on 01/05/23

Perla Gavidia recently lost her job, so winning €400,000 euros (about $348,435) is a huge blessing.

Perla Gavidia is of Peruvian origin but has been living in Spain for decades. She recently became unemployed; she had worked for 20 years at the cafeteria of the Moncloa Palace, home of the Spanish Prime Minister and his family, but recently there was a reshuffling of personnel and she was fired. “They threw me out on the street,” she says. Since then she has been collecting unemployment benefits.

On the morning of December 22, she was at the Royal Theater in Madrid, where the drawing for the “Gordo” (the “Fat Prize”), Spain’s popular lottery, was being held. She was with her daughter and son.

Boys and girls from a city-run home for children from disadvantaged families, San Ildefonso Boarding Residence, were extracting balls from the drums and singing out the winning numbers. Perla told her son to look closely at the numbers because he couldn’t see the screen well.

At 11:20 a.m. the winning numbers for the Christmas lottery Gordo prize of 4 million euros (worth more than 4 million US dollars) was announced. The way this particular lottery works, no one wins the full amount; the first prize was €400,000, the second was €125,000, and there were other smaller prizes. Perla consulted the list of numbers she had a ticket for and was surprised to see that the number 5490 — the first prize — was one of the tickets she had bought. She began to cry with emotion.

She had been going through a difficult time living with her two children in a rented apartment and now, suddenly, she was blessed with €400,000 euros, which after taxes will be €328,000 (about $348,435 in US dollars) — an incredible help.

“God is great”

“God is great, he knows why he does things,” she said yesterday to the crowd of journalists who surrounded her in the Royal Theater, while one of her sons held the winning ticket.

Considering that she had been fired very recently, Perla said, “That’s why I believe that God is great; God brings justice.”

Perla was ecstatic and nervous, but she was very clear that the first thing she will do with her money is to “buy a house.”

She also promised she would give a donation “for the Church” in gratitude to God. “I’m very Catholic,” she said. A woman of faith, she has clung to the Lord in all this time of difficulty and throughout the many trials she has experienced in life: leaving her country, raising children, becoming unemployed in adulthood…

Perla says she was convinced that this year she was going to win the lottery: “I dreamed it,” she said.

In addition to buying a house, something she will be able to do that makes her immensely happy is giving her children an education. “Now I have money for my children’s college; that’s the most important thing.” 

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