A Pakistani cab driver from Arlington, Va. who won $32.4 million playing the D.C. Lottery’s Powerball game apparently has had a change of heart about returning to his native country with the winnings.
Rumors that Ihsan Khan, 43, planned to drop everything and head straight for his homeland with the loot were quelled yesterday when he told a news conference that “the money stays here.”
“I’m not exactly sure what my plans are for the future,” said Mr. Khan, who immigrated to the United States in 1979. “I’ll be in Arlington . My birthplace is Pakistan, but I’m not going there as [far as] I know right now.”
Mr. Khan grew up in a “little village” in the mountains near China, about six hours north of Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad.
Asked if he believed the American dream had come true for him, he told a Washington Times reporter, “Oh, I don’t know. Listen, the American Dream is this beautiful women, strong beer and clean roads.”
The change of heart about going to Pakistan caught D.C. Lottery officials by surprise yesterday, according to spokesman Bob Hainey.
When Mr. Khan, a Muslim, claimed his prize on Nov. 17 the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan he told lottery officials and reporters he would feel more secure taking his winnings to Pakistan, Mr. Hainey said.
“He was supposed to go by limousine straight from here to the airport, then to Pakistan,” Mr. Hainey said after yesterday’s check presentation at D.C. Lottery headquarters on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast.
“I think he changed his mind when [people in Pakistan] saw news footage of him,” Mr. Hainey said.
Mr. Khan has three sons a 15-year-old who lives with him in Arlington, and 9- and 6-year-olds living in Pakistan, Mr. Hainey said.
Mr. Khan declined to answer questions about his sons, saying only, “I hope my boys will have a beautiful future and go to any university they want in America.”
He said he didn’t know where the story came from that he was returning to Pakistan. Instead, he plans to stay in the United States and create a trust fund in the name of his deceased mother to help the less fortunate.
“I will help wherever I can make a difference for poor people,” he said. “I want to help people learn computer skills and get better jobs.”
There’s no question he won enough money to fulfill the goal. As the lone taker of a $55 million Powerball jackpot, he opted for the lump-sum payout $32,499,939.24 cents wired to his bank account.
Mr. Khan didn’t realize he had won until days after the drawing, when he checked the newspaper while taking a break from driving his taxi. “I kept driving around and around,” he said. “But I wasn’t picking up any passengers.”
Asked if he’ll still be a cab driver now that he’s a millionaire, Mr. Khan chuckled, sarcastically responding: “What do you think?”
Joining him on the winner’s podium yesterday were Eun Kim, owner of the Key Bridge Exxon Station in Georgetown, and James Daniel, winner of the Nov. 19 D.C. Hot Five lottery.
Mr. Kim received a $100,000 check for selling Mr. Khan the lucky Powerball ticket, and Mr. Daniel, of Hyattsville, took home $25,000.
“I’m just glad I hit at Christmastime,” said Mr. Daniel, a postal employee who works at the U.S. Postal Service headquarters in the District.