A man from Calgary, Canada, who won the jackpot of $40 million in a lottery, has decided to give away all his winnings. After keeping the news secret from his children for several months, he finally decided to break his silence. Thankfully, his kids are supportive of his decision.
Tom Crist, a widower of two years, won the Lotto Max jackpot this year in May. He retired in September, and he says he had always known what he was going to do with the money. “I was fortunate enough in my career to set myself up and my kids anyway,” he said. “There was no doubt in my mind where that money was going to go.”
Crist’s lost his wife, Jan, to lung cancer in 2012. “She was fairly young and stuff,” he said. “She beat it for six years before it finally caught up to her.” Jan was 57 years old when she died. So Crist is definitely going to give a part of his winnings to the Tom Baker Cancer Center, because they had treated his wife. But he is still undecided about where the rest of the money will go.
“It’s just going to unfold next year, so we’ll decide as a family what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it,” Crist said. “The nice part is you can keep donating for years and years. It’ll be in my family trust and we’ll just carry on.” Another charity under consideration is the Canadian Cancer Society.
Crist is a regular player of Lotto Max and Lotto 6/49, both conducted by Western Canada Lottery Corp. He has been playing for years by subscription, which means that his numbers are checked automatically by the company after each draw. In the past, he has won up to $20, but this prize is something he never expected. When he received the call informing him about winning the largest lotto prize in Calgary, Crist was playing golf in California. “I wasn’t even sure which game I’d won, or what the numbers were,” he said. “I’ve paid for the subscription when I get the renewal notice every year, and then I just file it.”
“As soon as I hung up from my cellphone call from Western Canada Lottery, I never thought about it,” said Crist, retired CEO and president of electronics company EECOL. “I’ve kept it a secret, even my kids didn’t know until today,” he said on Monday.
“I’ve been fortunate enough, through my career, 44 years with a company. I did very well for myself. I’ve done enough that I can look after myself, for my kids, so they can get looked after into the future. I don’t really need that money,” he said.
When asked why Crist didn’t tell his children about the lottery and the plans sooner, he said he felt reluctant. “I just didn’t know how to deal with it. I was hoping that I could just somehow move it into, you know, from the lotto corporation into my trust account and not have the media.”
“But when you buy a ticket you’re subject to the rules of the lottery and that’s a picture and a notification – especially if it’s a big win,” said Crist.
For now, Crist will be on an extended holiday in Southeast Asia. But when he’s back next year, he will start his donations with Tom Baker Center and set up something in the memory of his wife Jan.
Crist seems to be a wonderful, generous man. It isn’t easy giving away such a large amount of money, even if you’re rich. What would you do if you won $40 million?