San Francisco taxi driver Mahendra KC doesn't need to worry about getting fares anymore. From local cabbie to local millionaire, the 50-year-old driver just won the California lottery -- all $1.9 million of it.
According to his family, winning the lotto has been a dream of KC's since he immigrated to the Bay Area from Nepal about a decade ago. "It's just a life-changing situation here," said his daughter Chandani, who was translating for her father. "Now whatever dreams we always had all together as a family, they're going to be true."
Perhaps between fares, KC decided to stop by Huntington Liquor in San Bruno to pick up a Mega Millions Quick Pick. He shelled out his $1, hopped in his taxi and drove off -- unbeknowst to him -- with a lucky ticket.
On Tuesday night, his life forever changed when five of his six ticket numbers (11-19-24-33-51) matched the $414 million jackpot. So he didn't have the one number needed to split that $414 million with the two other winning tickets in Maryland and Florida, but he's not complaining.
"My dad has been buying lottery for 10 years, hoping he would get the jackpot or some big amount," Mahendra's son Niranjan said. "He is really excited about it. He was lost for words."
KC didn't waste any time claiming his prize. He showed up at the Lottery's South San Francisco District Office the minute it opened yesterday morning to get his fortune. "I think my dad only had 3 to 4 hours of sleep because once you win the ticket of a very big amount, the first thing you think about is safety -- am I going to lose it? So we came early to turn it in just to be on the safe side," his daughter said.
So what's next for the taxi driver and his wife, who is a San Francisco housekeeper? Some of those winnings will help pay for medical bills, including organ transplants for the kids' grandparents. After that, they will use the money to pay off school loans, then maybe relax for the first time in forever.
"You know, we've worked so hard throughout our life. That's all my dad thinks about is winning the lottery. Hopefully our lives change now. It's pretty much a dream come true," KC son's said.