Single mum wins the lottery and shares her winnings with 20 strangers

A Kentucky mom took her lottery prize winnings and made the day of 20 strangers (Picture: Kentucky Lottery)

A single mother from Kentucky won a six-figure jackpot — and immediately thought to pay it forward by sharing her prize with 20 strangers.

Crystal Dunn wagered $20 in the Bank Buster Jackpot Instant Play, an online lottery game she plays for fun. Seconds after placing her bet, a message popped up on her computer indicated she had just won $146,351.74, according to a news release from the Kentucky Lottery.

‘I never thought I would win something like this, but this goes to show it can happen,’ she said.

Dunn, 42, a single mother of three sons, knew immediately after picking up her post-taxes check for $103,909.73 what she wanted to do first with the money.

She then stopped at Meijer, a supermarket chain, and bought 20 $100 gift cards.

‘I just received this amazing gift, and I wanted to share that,’ she told

With a little help from supermarket staff, Dunn began handing out the gift cards to strangers who had gone into the store expecting to do some shopping. Many of the strangers were taken back by the kind gesture, thinking Dunn wanted something in return.

‘A lot of people were in disbelief,’ she said. Some even asked to give her a hug.

After a difficult upbringing, moving from foster home to foster home at the age of nine, Dunn ran away at the age of 16 and has cared for herself ever since. Despite her own troubles earlier in life, she’s proud of the life she has carved out for herself.

‘When I won the money, in a way I wished it was someone else, because I do okay. I can take care of myself,’ she said. ‘I never expected this in my wildest dreams to happen.’

She then took it as an opportunity to spread some kindness and share her good fortune.

Staff at Kentucky Lottery told the newspaper they were moved by how Dunn shared her earnings with others.

‘It wasn’t like she won millions of dollars,’ said Chip Polston, the senior vice president of communications for the Kentucky Lottery.

‘She had the foresight to take $2,000 and just go back the day of 20 random people in this grocery store,’ he added, noting that it’s not uncommon for winners to look for ways to share their luck with those around them.

Dunn also plans to use the winnings on things she was already working towards, such as buying a car and paying off her bills. 



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