March 08, 2016
If you’re anything like me, you can’t stop laughing about the picture that the Florida Lottery shared far and wide last week of a pair of brothers from Pennsylvania who both hit the Powerball.
Their names are James and Bob Stocklas, and they played the numbers game as they were wrapping up a fishing trip in the Florida Keys.
James is a magisterial district judge in Bethlehem. Bob is a former electronic technician with the U.S. Navy and Bethlehem Steel Corp. who lives in Nazareth.
"It's like Rubio standing next to Trump." –Bob Stocklas on posing with Powerball-winning brother James for Florida Lottery photo
James holds a novelty check, dated March 4, “payable” for $291,400,000 (he chose the lump sum $191 million pay-out).
Bob also holds a novelty check, but his is “payable” for $7.00.
Despite the wide range in winnings, both men smile like the victors they are.
I called Bob on Tuesday to find out what he thought of the whole thing.
He said the dual photo idea came from the lottery director who thought “it’d be good [public relations]” for the Florida Lottery. He was right about that, as the story traveled the globe last week.
“It’s like Rubio standing next to Trump,” Bob said when I asked how it felt to pose for it, alluding to Republican presidential race frontrunner Donald and apparent also-ran Marco. “It was just a fun thing to do.”
Bob noted that he wasn’t even going to be there for the victory tour, but James called after realizing he’d won, saying that he was flying to Florida to collect his winnings. They had two extra seats, so he and his wife went along for the ride.
“I thought I’d only won $4, but when they put it in the machine, it said I won $7. I doubled my winnings!” Bob said with a laugh. “I’m so glad for my brother. I haven’t [gotten a cut of it] yet, but my brother’s a good person, so I’m sure I’ll get something.”
As for Bob’s plans for his jackpot, he told PhillyVoice that he spent the loot last week.
“Already bought breakfast with it at Chris’ Restaurant a couple days ago,” he said. “I had an egg and cheese omelet.”
Oh, for what it's worth: We checked with a pair of printing companies in the area (Strassheim Graphic Design in Center City and Signs By Tomorrow in Ardmore) about the cost of making one of those novelty checks in the first place. Both estimated the expense at no less than $100.