A Waitress Who Won $10 Million in the Lottery was Subsequently Ripped Off by Literally Everyone

When waitress Tonda Dickerson received a lottery ticket as a tip from a customer, she had no idea her life was about to change (and not all for the better.) After finding out that ticket won her $10 million, she was sued by her coworkers for not splitting the winnings with them, sued by the man who gave her the ticket for not buying him a truck after she said she would, was kidnapped by her ex-husband, and then had to go to court against the IRS.

Here’s what people on Reddit said about the case when they found out about it.

1. Tell No One

This is why you never ever say anything to anyone if you win a lottery of any size, especially family.


2. The Unofficial Rules

As someone who has never won the lottery I’ll tell you that the rules of winning are:
Don’t talk about winning the lottery
Get a good lawyer
Get a good accountant
Continue to not talk about winning the lottery forever.


3. Just Vanish

A few years ago my coworker was backing out of his driveway to go to work, and his next-door neighbor was standing on the sidewalk smoking cigarettes. They were friends and he asked what was going on. Turns out, the next-door neighbor won the Maryland state lottery at about $100 million. They disconnected all of their phones, packed up their car and left town two days later. No one knows where they went except their parents. A few weeks later, movers came and packed up all their furniture and the house was sold. My coworker never saw them or heard from them again. I bet they paid the tax and still have all the rest of the money. Probably living overseas.
We hear big numbers get thrown around all the time… but even 50 million would put you in the very Top percentage of wealthy people on the planet.


4. Zip It

Never miss a good chance to keep your mouth shut.


5. Say Nothing

Don’t disclose to the server staff won a ticket. Continue working for a few more weeks while you buy a new life in a different state. Quietly quit that job and disappear.


6. Being Anonymous Should Be An Option

This the exact reason winners should be able to stay anonymous if they want to.
Fucking begging degenerates.
Edit: as others have pointed out, they publicize the winner for transparency reasons. It’s really too bad there isn’t a better method.


7. Coworkers Might Not Be Wrong

If her workplace always operated on a tip pool I think her co-workers actually have a pretty strong case.


8. Here’s $5

There is an argument that the value of the tip was just 5 bucks or so. It was not valued at $10m until it won later on. Which is the case for any lottery ticket. She should have given the staff $5 and wished them well.


9. Short-Lived Joy

Congratulations! You just won millions of dollars in the lottery! That’s great. Now you’re fucked. No really. You are. You’re fucked.


10. Life Isn’t Equal

Too many people in the world who can’t appreciate a fucking FREE GIFT. Like sure, be jealous all you want. But at the same time don’t let that jealousy control you and JUST BE HAPPY FOR YOUR FRIEND/FAMILY…
That’s me. My younger brother still lives at home and because of that literally has 15x my savings (over 30k, which is a LOT in my country), and it has been decided that he will inherit the house. Meanwhile I’m barely getting by with under 2k savings and live in a rental. And guess what? I’m jealous, yea. But I’m also happy for him and my mom that they can live comfortably together in the same house.
Meanwhile I’m happy with my total freedom from anyone else (I live alone), will get a decent sum of money since my younger brother does have to “buy me out” when he inherits the house, and I know for a fact that if I ever do get into financial deep shit I can ask them for help. Which I only do if I really am in financial deep shit.
Life isn’t equal. Never has been. Live within your own means, be happy for the people close to you if they can live more comfortably than you, and be glad and thankful when they’re willing to help you.


11. Lottery Club Rules

The first rule of the winning the lottery club is don’t talk about the winning the lottery club.


12. A Sharp Knife

Money is more like a really sharp knife.
It’s a super useful tool that could solve a lot of problem, but if you don’t know what you are doing, you can hurt yourself badly.


13. No Friends, No Relatives

I won a huge lawsuit back in 96 and next thing you know my relatives started calling and wanting to come by, I moved 60 miles away and to this day not seen or talked to them since. I paid off my son’s house, put money into a collage fund for the grand kids and a new car for the daughter-in-law and then hit the road seeing the tourist sights, and no I still live like I did before the wealth.
When it comes to money you have no friends or relatives.


14. The Root of All Evil

I ran into 300 thousand 5 years ago…..ended up homeless and crazy after 2 years with not a pot to piss in…..money can be the root of all evil if your not careful.


15. The Stress of It All

Stuff like this makes me wonder how many people have won the lottery and then had heart attacks and died from stress before they could enjoy it.


16. The Summary of Events

If it helps:
The Waffle House waitresses that sued her won the first case in less than 45mins. The ruling was later overturned by the Alabama Supreme Court.
The claim by the patron who gave her the ticket was dismissed.
Her ex husband lived. No charges were filed.
The IRS did win their claim for gift tax on top of the income tax. It was a percentage of the total gift tax and came out to a little over $1.1 million.
She was able to keep most of her winnings. She went on to spread her wealth amongst her family. In 2021 she was a poker dealer in Biloxi, Mississippi.


17. No Thank You

The more I think about what it’s like to win the lottery the more I feel like I never want to. Yes it’s a lot of money and you’ll live comfortable for the rest of your life but it’s such a big lifestyle change to go from earning a decent salary to being a millionaire within a few days. It would honestly be a little scary having that much money.


18. Take This Lesson

Let this be a lesson to everyone that has a “good event” like this.. when someone gives you something, or when you find something keep it quiet. When you have good fortune don’t talk about it. Let GOD be your witness. Not talking someone else’s lost items which you turn in the the police like buried treasure. Someone else out there is ALWAYS going to try and take it away. Lottery winnings should ALWAYS be confidential. Don’t tell ANYONE but your closest family and apparently some one those might be hinky.


19. Morally Wrong

This has come up before. The coworkers honestly had a decent claim to the money. She had regularly told everyone from coworkers to customers that all the staff agreed to split the pot if they ever won the lottery from a tip ticket. Other employees also got tickets and they all agreed if any of them won it would be split. This was an established fact of the case.

When Tonda eventually won, she backed out. The reason the Supreme Court eventually sided with Tonda wasn’t because she didn’t make a deal. The courts did say she entered an oral contract with the other employees. However the contract was unenforceable because it was based on a gambling consideration.

Either way she was morally in the wrong here.


20. Some Minor Details

You’re just listing some relatively minor things. She took the 30 year payout and even with $1m and a truck gone that’s still millions of dollars most of us will never see.
The only thing of any consequence was her ex preventing her from leaving and she took care of that and his dumb ass still survived. So what has she lost?
My nightmares don’t end with me having millions of dollars for life.