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A Problem With The Puerto Rican Lottery

Updated on March 7, 2014
Froggy213 profile image

A Gringo who moved to Puerto Rico, Greg loves writing about the island he now resides on. He and Maria also wrote several bilingual books...


I was in a frustrated mood as it was. Drivers seemed to be in a nutty frame of mind that day and I seemed to hit every pothole that was on the streets. My love asked me if I would like a milk shake and I smiled at her and shook my head yes. We pulled into a Burger King drive-thru at Los Colobos mall in Carolina, Puerto Rico. The line was somewhat long, but we waited. I needed to let the frustration wear off, and a milk shake was the perfect choice.

We ordered our shakes and to the window we went. The girl that was working the window seemed rushed and took my debit card in a not so polite fashion. The window closed and I saw the sign saying to be sure and get your IVU Loto receipt. Let me explain about IVU Loto and then the rest of the story.

IVU Loto

In Puerto Rico, as in most of the United States, they have an island wide lottery. You can buy tickets and take a chance of winning. I never buy them. I don't think the odds are very good, but if someone gives me one, I won't say no.

Part of the IVU Loto is a special thing. When you purchase any item that taxes are charged for, you get a free lottery number on your receipt. I have noticed many places not giving receipts and it had finally dawned on me that the workers were keeping the receipts upping their odds of hitting for some free money.

You can see how the IVU Loto works by going to the following link. After that is what happened at Burger King.


Did I already tell you I had been extremely frustrated? It was about to build to a crescendo.

The girl handed me back my debit card with no receipts. The window closed and I waited looking at Lastheart and asking her, "shouldn't I get a receipt?" She shook her head yes and the window opened with the girl shoving the shakes at me and quickly closing the window. I reached out and knocked on the glass and she opened it and I said in my Gringocua Spanish, "receipto?" I could see the look of frustration on her face, but she pushed buttons on the cash register and handed me a receipt and closed the window quickly. I felt a brief moment of satisfaction until I looked at the receipt and saw the word "duplicate". There were no IVU Loto numbers on the receipt. My hand knocked harder on the window as I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw the cars piling up. She had an angry face when she opened the window and I told her in plain English that I wanted the receipt with the Loto. She said she couldn't in broken English and I said I wanted a manager. She told me to pull around to the front and I said, "NO, I want a manager here now!"

The manager came and I explained how I am owed a Loto receipt. She was fuming in the background as the manager pushed button after button on the register. After about 1 minute, he handed me a receipt which had the Loto numbers, but not what we ordered. I believe it was the car behind ours whose receipt we received. What came next should have earned that girl a slip giving her the opportunity to seek new employment; to have her fired so to speak.

As we drove away, both my wife and I heard her say, "Esmayao". I asked Maggie, "what does that mean?" When I was told what this Puerto Rican slang meant, I was angry! Esmayao in not so many words, would mean a person who is greedy, but even worse. Put a curse word before greedy and maybe the word slob behind greedy and you may be close to what Esmayao means.

I parked the car in the parking lot and told my beautiful wife I would be back. She looked at me with that, "you better be good" look. "Don't worry," I said.

The Gringo entered the very busy Burger King and pushed my way to the front where I saw that manager near the counter. All my frustration came out right then and there as my fist hit the counter.

"Esmayao huh???" I yelled. "Just because I paid for my Loto and she stole it I'm an esmayao?

The entire Burger King workforce was coming towards the counter wondering about the excitement. At this moment, my wife came to their rescue in a way. Well, actually probably my rescue with the anger I was feeling. She promptly started asking why I was treated in this way and called such a disgusting name. The girl, without considering what she was saying, said she was talking to the manager. Lastheart said, "oh, so it's ok that you call your manager Esmayao?" This was the line that caught the girl and she realized it.

Her next statement was ¡perdón which meant she was sorry.

We left.


For anyone in Puerto Rico, be sure and get your Loto receipts when you make a purchase. That is part of your taxes you pay.

To the Loto officials and the Governor of Puerto Rico: I think you should take a hard look at the problem this is causing. Shouldn't there be some stipulations that you cannot win if the ticket is from your place of employment?

To employers: I have noticed this happening in many places. I must also say that much of the help we get at stores and restaurants is terrible. Customers should not be treated the way they are in so many places. there are many people looking for jobs, why allow your employees to treat customers so bad?

I am going to start calling out bad treatment, so if you work at a place where you are helping customers, keep an eye out for a crazy gringo. I expect decent treatment when I am paying for something and I expect to get everything I pay for including the Loto numbers. You took the job, so at least do it correctly.

© G.L. Boudonck

© 2013 Greg Boudonck


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    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 5 years ago from Returned to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      Funny huh???? Was esmayao funny??

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 5 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Ohh...I did voted all specially funny. This was one of those situations when all the emotions are in the same level. I have to watch the Chuck Norris in you.