MANILA, December 10, 2010 (AFP) – An act of gallantry paid huge dividends for a “humble gentleman” who won 17 million dollars in a Philippine lottery after letting a woman cut him in line and buy what would have been his losing ticket.

The 63-year-old winner’s elation when collecting his 741 million pesos (17 million dollars) this week was tinged with empathy for the excited lady who pushed in front of him, the lottery said Friday.

“The woman cut in. He was being very gentlemanly so he just stepped back and allowed her,” Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office chair Margie Juico told AFP.

“When he won, he kept thinking: how sad for that woman. She could have won the big prize if she had just been patient.”

Nobody had won the lottery since May 15, ratcheting up the prize money because it accumulates every time someone fails to pick the lucky numbers.

The potential for a huge win prompted millions of people in this impoverished country to form huge lines outside lottery outlets.

Juico said the winner in the November 29 draw was “unassuming and humble”, and had told her that he had not even bothered to see if he held the winning ticket for a week.

A Filipino living in the United States, he had bought the ticket while on a holiday to his homeland. He will return to the United States, where he works and has three children.
The lottery agency has a policy of keeping the names of the winners secret, partly to protect them from kidnappers, Juico said.