Dubai: From hotel staff preparing banquets, to store manager, and now a multi-millionaire — that’s the amazing story of Filipino expatriate Russel Reyes Tuazon, who recently won the Dh15 million grand prize of Emirates Draw EASY6.
Tuazon, 34, said his life has changed drastically overnight, following a call from Emirates Draw informing of his win. “I was actually soundly asleep when they called past midnight because I worked morning shift,” he said, adding: “I was stunned; the news was overwhelming. I immediately called my wife but it was still around 4am in the Philippines and she only answered my call after several attempts. She too was shocked. She thought I had gone crazy but I sent her a screenshot of the email notification and she finally believed me.”
“It has been almost two weeks since my win but the feeling of winning millions still has yet to sink in. I’m an introvert person. I don’t usually hang out and I’m not active on social media. My life will definitely change when this news of me winning will come out,” said Tuazon during a symbolic cheque presentation on Tuesday.
“But I can now plan a better future for myself and my family, thanks to this enormous win from Emirates Draw. My broad plan is to open a business related to my line of work in the food and beverage industry. I have to work out the details yet,” he continued.
Tuazon attributes his luck to his favourite numbers. The winning digits that fetched him Dh15 million were 6-29-34-17-22-25 — numbers which represent his birthday, that of his son, elder sister and mother.
“I was born on June 29 and I’m now 34 years old — that’s 6, 29 and 34; my son was born on September 17; my mother on September 22; and my elder sister on November 25,” noted Tuazon, adding, “It’s also 15-15-15 for me. I bought the ticket for Dh15, and won Dh15 million on my 15th year living and working in Dubai.”
Tuazon, 34, came to Dubai in 2008 at the young age of 19, leaving behind his parents and siblings, to work at a hotel. He started as a hotel staff, serving at banquets, and worked his way to move up the ranks before he met his current employer who offered him a job as a store manager.
He spent most of his adult life in Dubai; met his wife here and started a family. He had to send his family and their then four-year old son back home in 2019 and continued as a migrant worker to earn for his family. He also experienced challenges at the height of the pandemic.
Tuazon said: “It has been a rollercoaster ride for me. When I came to this country as a teenager, I had no idea what my life could be. There have been many ups and down. But now, the actual fun and adventure has only begun.”