UAE: Filipino coffee shop manager wins Dh15 million, becomes first multi-millionaire of 2023

Ten days after the announcement, Reyes is still in shock and cannot believe his luck


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Russel Reyes with his winning cheque. Photo: Supplied
Russel Reyes with his winning cheque. Photo: Supplied

Published: Tue 24 Jan 2023, 1:16 PM

Last updated: Tue 24 Jan 2023, 4:17 PM

For the last 10 days, Russel Reyes has been in a state of shock and is trying to adjust to the fact that he is now a millionaire. Reyes became the first multi-millionaire of 2023 at the Emirates Draw held in the UAE on January 13.

Reyes is from the Philippines and has been living in the UAE for 15 years. With an investment of Dh15, he won Dh15 million in 'Easy 6' at the Emirates Draw. This is the first time he has participated in any draw. “Number 15 is very lucky for me. It feels overwhelming, and I am still in disbelief,” Reyes said, adding that he is now financially independent after this win.

The new millionaire works as a store manager at Deira City Centre in a coffee shop. He heard about the draw from his brother, who is a regular participant. “I hugged my brother and said I won. And he thought I was joking as this was my first attempt, but is happy for me.”

The 34-year-old expat remembers everything about the draw, even the exact time he purchased the ticket. It was on January 13, a Friday - which is considered 'Black Friday'. However, for Reyes, it turned out to be a good Friday. “I got the ticket online on the same day of the draw. It was early, at 7:22am. And I received the winning call at 12:45am on January 14. I was shaking (with joy) and couldn’t sleep the whole night.”

Reyes selected the numbers based on his family’s birth dates. The winning numbers are 6, 29, 34, 17, 25, and 22. “I selected the number 6 - month of my birthday, 29 - date of my birth, 34 - my age, 17- son’s birthday, 25 - sister’s birthday, and 22 is mother’s birth date,” said Reyes.

He plans to invest the money but will take the call after proper deliberation about where to put his winnings. “I have to be very careful where to invest my money and have to consider many aspects before I decide,” said Reyes.

“The first person I informed was my wife. But she is still in disbelief. Now, as the news will be out, she has to believe it,” said Reyes.

Reyes will soon bring his family to the UAE. “I have a lot of plans now, and I want to proceed slowly, step by step. I may bring my family here in future,” added Reyes.


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