LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- If someone has a ticket with the winning numbers to Wednesday night’s Powerball jackpot, odds are they quickly called the other people they bought tickets with.
Usually, the higher the jackpot climbs, the more likely it is that groups of friends will combine their cash to go after the big prize. A group of nurses from UAMS was among them, anxious Wednesday evening for good news they could share with each other.
“I got that butterfly in my tummy,” Elvis Nduku said. “The good one.”
Nduku and a dozen other nurses decided to join forces to take down the Powerball. Steve Vincent helped organize the pool and collected the cash.
“It was a $10 pot,” he said of each nurse’s contribution. “And with that, you got four automatically-generated tickets, and you got to choose one ticket to choose your numbers.”
Nduku and Vincent both used their children as inspiration for their selections. While all the nurses spent time picking their lucky numbers, Vincent spent a much greater amount of time buying the tickets.
“Well, we didn’t want to buy them all in one area,” he mentioned. “So, I commute back and forth from Hot Springs, so I drove and hit every gas station from here to Hot Springs, just to kind of spread it out. So, I went to 13 different gas stations this morning, and hopefully that will help our odds.”
Meg Giger said the nurses in the group have become close over the last couple of years. They work together in Unit E7, which covers hematology/oncology. They often bond over potluck dinners, which Nduku said are better than eating at a restaurant. Their friendship and kindness is good for the patients, and even shows up in their multi-millionaire fantasies.
“I’d probably give back to my unit,” Giger said. “I would buy mattresses for the unit. But they’d stay on the unit, because I feel like somehow, they’d start going all over the hospital.”
If they claimed the grand prize and each won more than $50 million, Giger said she would continue working. She said HemOnc is a special place and would be deserving of part of her fortune.
“I guess because it is cancer patients,” she stated. “You know, they’re going through a really tough time, and it’s just a little something that I could do to make it, I guess, more pleasant, because being in the hospital is not a fun thing.”
Nduku and Vincent also mentioned wanting to treat their wives to something special, and taking care of their children.
“I would give some more,” Nduku added. “Matter of fact, I would give a lot to the staff members I work with. I love my coworkers. They’re, like, one of the best, if not.”
But even if they do not win, the Powerball pool has brought these nurses even closer together.
“I know, if we don’t win, I think this’ll probably be something we start to do from here on out,” Vincent said. “If nothing else, it gives us something to do.”