Worker at Saugus restaurant wins big after receiving Keno ticket as a tip

SAUGUS, Mass. — A worker at a North Shore restaurant is thanking a generous customer for a huge tip – not in the form of cash but a Keno ticket with a big pay-out.

Shirley Rose, 79, who works the Keno booth at Kowloon Restaurant in Saugus, was filling in for a coworker last Friday when a man named Eddie who was dining with his wife and friends asked to buy two $10 Keno tickets – one for himself and one for Shirley.

When Eddie asked Shirley to pick the numbers on the Keno card, she told him the dates of her birthday and her son’s, as well as a couple other lucky numbers and her age, 79.

“It fit on the card, because Keno goes from 1 to 80. When he said, ‘your age,’ I said, ‘I don’t think it goes that high,’” Shirley told Boston 25 News Monday with a laugh.

Shirley fed the tickets through the computer and continued working, later taking a break to check their numbers.

“About 20 minutes later, I ran the ticket through the computer to see if it hit. And sure enough, it did, and it was over $600, because it told me: ‘Do not cash,’” Shirley explained. “You can’t cash anything over $600. You have to go to the Lottery Commission.”

Shirley scanned the ticket with her lottery app on her phone and discovered they had won $2,000, each.

“We were like, ‘Oh, my god,’” Shirley said, adding that she could barely concentrate amid all the excitement. “For, like half an hour, an hour after this happened, I was a mess. But it worked out. The cash drawer balanced out at the end of the night. Phew!”

The money comes at a good time for Shirley, who began working part-time at the restaurant last December.

“I have had a lot of extra expenses this year, and I’m looking at putting in a new boiler for next winter,” Shirley said. “So, this will help pay for that.”

But it is the generous gesture of a stranger that means the most to Shirley. She believes Eddie was more excited for her than he was himself.

“He definitely is special, and there’s something about him… I can’t thank him enough,” Shirley said. “It gives you hope that there’s more people like him in this world than there are the bad guys.”

Shirley said it wasn’t only her lucky night; while dining, Eddie and his wife learned their grandson had been born.

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