|A missed meal turned into more than a million dollars for one unsuspecting mortgage branch manager while on a recent trip to Lake Tahoe.
More concerned with the hunger pains in his stomach than gambling, Superior Mortgage-Southhampton branch manager Steve Phares said he was just passing through Harvey’s Casino and Resort to grab some chow when his girlfriend, Deborah Kashady, suggested they make a stop at the slot machines.
As the machine Phares was playing kept giving free spins, Kashady’s instincts told her they should continue to play the machine and forgo the dinner plans that brought them there.
Her instincts paid off. Big time.
Phares hit the “Wheel of Fortune” jackpot, winning a whopping $1.3 million.
“I didn’t even know I won,” Phares said. “It was ringing that I hit something but it didn’t start adding anything up. I leaned over and asked my girlfriend what it was and she told me it was the big jackpot.”
He said he just stared at the machine that displayed three winning “Wheel of Fortune” symbols.
That’s when the mayhem ensued for two-and-a-half hours. Photos, interviews, and the exchange of a giant check blurred the second day of Phares’ quiet ski vacation in Lake Tahoe.
Phares, who holds a marketing and management degree said he has no plans to quit his job — and that is good news to Superior Mortgage Senior Vice President George Allen.
Allen said that Phares is one of Superior’s best managers. “He does a terrific job,” Allen said. “He’s a hard-worker who is very dedicated to the mortgage business.”
Regarding Phares’ luck Allen remarked, “I guess the harder you work the luckier you get.”
Coworker and ex-wife Lori Eife said, “It couldn’t have happened to a better person at a better time in his life.”
Phares, who has been in the mortgage industry for 19 years, said the winnings will enable him to grow his net branch business which he began almost two years ago. He said they offer a wide range of loan programs but specialize in higher LTV and first-time buyer programs.
He added that for nine months out of last year his office ranked number seven in volume out of 38 branches.
Superior Mortgage is headquartered in Tuckerton, NJ and reports it has 350 employees in 38 branches, located mostly along the eastern seaboard.
Paula Parisot is a freelance writer for MortgageDaily.com. In addition to 4 years’ journalism experience at other news publications, Paula has worked in the mortgage industry. Email Paula at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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