Oregon lottery winner splits jackpot with bartender who served him

Oregon lottery winner splits jackpot with bartender who served him »Play Video
Mike's Place bartender Debbie Rozzell holds up the winning lottery ticket next to a picture of her and one of her regular customers, Tom Larson. They split the winnings of a $28,000 lottery ticket.

CANBY, Ore. -- They say a man is only as good as his word. If that's true, Tom Larson is a really good guy.

"You gotta do what you gotta do," said Larson. "Your word is your handshake."

Larson is a regular customer at Mike's Place in Canby. Debbie Rozzell has worked as a bartender there for years. She was waiting on Tom last week when he asked to buy some lottery tickets.

"He said, 'go ahead and buy one of those Lucky Lines tickets you were talking about,'" said Rozzell. "'Put both of our names on it, and if I win anything I'll split it with you.'"

"I thought if we won something we'd win two bucks or a hundred bucks or something like that," said Larson.

The ticket turned out to be a $28,000 winner. True to his word, Tom split the winnings.

"I love Tom," said Debbie. "I think we're a lot alike that way. If I say something, my word is the only thing I really can actually have control over and that's how he feels too."

"I've got money in my pocket I didn't have before and so does she," said Tom. "It makes me happy, so what? It's the only way to be."

Rozzell has already bought a laptop with her half of the winnings and she might make plans for a summer vacation. Larson tells KATU he will put his share of the jackpot in the bank.