California vaccine lottery winner thought call from state ‘was a joke’

Gov. Gavin Newsom identified one of the first 15 winners of the state’s $50,000 lottery for residents who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 — a man named Tony who said he initially dismissed the news as a gag.

“I got the call last Friday. At first, I thought it was a joke, so I ignored it,” Tony says in a clip shared Wednesday evening on the governor’s social media sites.

Tony, who didn’t give a last name, woke up to his good fortune after he did some research about the giveaway.

“I’m so super happy,” he says in the clip, wearing a baseball cap and a shirt emblazoned with pink flamingoes. He does not say where he lives.

The clip shows him embracing his dog, holding a wine glass full of orange juice and getting his shot at a drive-thru clinic.

“It’s been a rough year, a year and a half, for me and everyone else out there,” Tony says. “So it’s nice to have this extra money come in.”

The clip revives the image of Newsom as a game show host at the California State Lottery headquarters in Sacramento last Friday, where he stood in front of a glittery gold curtain, “Wheel of Fortune”-style colored wheel and columns of plastic numbered balls used for the drawing.

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