Sodeto in Spain is considered the luckiest village in the world. In 2011, nearly all of its 240 residents became millionaires overnight. All except one. His name is Costis Mitsotakis.
In the thick of Europe’s economic crisis, Sodeto was suffering. Many villagers were battling unemployment and a prolonged drought. The crops would not grow, and money was scarce.
And then along came “The Fat One” or “El Gordo” as it’s more commonly known. El Gordo is Spain’s Christmas lottery jackpot. It is also hugely popular.
In the Spanish lottery, groups of people often buy shares of one number. In Sodeto, The Housewives Association purchased number 58,268. They then went door-to-door selling individual shares to everyone in town for six euros. Some purchased one share; others purchased more. Every resident crossed their fingers and hoped for the best.
When they won, the villagers danced in the streets and honked their horns. The world had gone mad. But in a good way. They had collectively won a whopping $950 million. It was the biggest payout in The Fat One’s history.
Depending on how many tickets they bought, each resident won between $130,000 and millions of dollars. For everyone it was a life-changing amount. All except for a filmmaker from Greece named Costis.
At the turn of the century, Costis fell in love with a Spanish girl from Sodeto. Her name was Sandra del Pozo. Costis moved to Sodeto to be with his sweetheart. They eventually split up, but Costis continued living in the village.
When news broke of the lottery win, Costis soon realized he was the only one left out. The Housewives had accidentally forgotten to call on the foreigner who lived on the edge of town.
In the aftermath of The Fat One, reporters flocked to the town. They all wanted to talk to the unluckiest man in the luckiest village.
Yet Costis insists he doesn’t feel unlucky. Nor does he hold a grudge against the Housewives Association. He insists the lottery jackpot changed his life as well.
The day the village’s ship came in, he picked up his camera and began filming. He has since produced a documentary. It portrays what happens when everyone in a village becomes millionaires overnight. Villagers chipped in with donations to fund the film.
Costis still lives in the village, but believes it has changed. He thinks the wealth has made people more withdrawn and less of a community.
The villagers disagree. They believe the win has enriched their lives. One said, “For me, the lottery has brought a sense of calm. To have the day-to-day covered, you know?”