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Oregon bartender's tip turns out to be lottery ticket worth $17,500

Oregon Lottery Winner_Cala.jpg

Customer Jerry Arnett, left, congratulates Aurora Kephart, a bartender in Springfield, Ore., Friday Oct. 4, 2013 after learning that she indirectly received a $17,500 tip when one of her customers happened to give her a winning lottery ticket this week. The Oregon Lottery reports that one of Kephart's regular customers at Conways Restaurant gave her a couple Keno tickets on Tuesday and when she checked one was a big winner. (AP Photo/The Register-Guard, Chris Pietsch) (THE REGISTER2013)

An Oregon bartender just got the tip of a lifetime.

One of Aurora Kephart's regulars at Conway's Restaurant and Lounge in Springfield often tips her with Keno tickets from the Oregon Lottery. On Tuesday evening, the man who wishes to remain anonymous asked Kephart to choose two.

When she checked the numbers, Kephart's first ticket won $5. The second turned into a $17,500 gratuity.

"I just couldn't not give him some of it."

- Aurora Kephart

"The look on his face was incredible," Kephart, 25, told The Register-Guard newspaper. "I automatically handed it back to him; it was his ticket."

But the man wouldn't take the ticket and made Kephart sign it so she would be the only one able to collect the prize.

Kephart said 80 percent of her customers are regulars, and they were excited for her.

"The reaction was crazy," Kephart said. "Everyone was so amped up."

With the bar busy, Kephart went right back to work, her brain "scrambled" by the big tip. The next day, she claimed her prize at the Oregon Lottery office in Salem.

Kephart said she gave the man a percentage of her winnings. "I just couldn't not give him some of it," she said.

Kephart said she plans to buy a new couch with her share and save the rest. Those modest plans earned her teasing from the bar's regulars, but she had been looking for a couch before going to work Tuesday and was scared off by the prices.

"I never realized how expensive couches were," she said. "Instead of waiting till Christmas or later, now I can buy something I really need."

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