Bill Morgan’s life has been full of luck – good and bad.
He should have died in June 1998 – and for 14 minutes he did – but somehow doctors managed to revive him after he had a heart attack and spent 15 days in a coma.
Mr Morgan, then 37 and living in a caravan park in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, was dubbed a ‘medical miracle’.
His second lucky break came when he bought an instant scratchie about a year later and promptly won brand new Toyota Corolla worth $30,000.
The windfall attracted plenty of media attention.
And that’s when it happened – his claim to viral video fame that’s re-emerged some 22 years later and is on everyone’s Facebook news feed.
The footage captures Mr Morgan buying another scratchie to re-create the moment for a TV program – only to win the jackpot.
‘I just won $250,000 – I’m not joking,’ he says in disbelief to the camera.
‘I think I’ll have another heart attack.’
The extraordinary win and the subsequent call to his fiancee to tell her she could buy a house was shown on Nine’s evening news in Melbourne, and then around the world via CNN and the BBC.
When Daily Mail Australia contacted Mr Morgan, now 59, to tell him he was a star all over again, he said he still buys scratchies – but hasn’t had that same kind of luck with lotto or his health.
‘Is it really going viral? My family tell me when they see it mentioned every now and then, but it hasn’t been a big deal for 22 years now,’ he said.
‘It was an incredible time – 12 months before I had the win the heart stopped and my life was over for 14 minutes and 38 seconds.
‘Every week I buy my Tattslotto and a $5 scratchie, I still do it now actually. So I buy this Scratchie I said out loud “I think I’ve won a car” and sure enough I had.
‘It wasn’t that big of a deal to me until the newspapers and TV stations got wind of it.
‘They thought it was a good luck story, so that’s how it all started. And I went into the newsagent’s and they filmed me walking up to the counter to get a $5 Scratchie and one of the cameramen said “that’d make a good shot, we’ll get you scratching it off”.
‘And with that I scratched it off and turned around to the camera and said “I just won $250,000” and the boss from Tattersall’s was there and he said “good joke”.
‘I said “I’m not joking” and all of a sudden it hit me like a tonne of bricks – I thought I was going to have another heart attack there and then.’
The incredible footage – which has been retweeted 50,000 times – shows Mr Morgan collapsing against a shelf as he realises he has won the massive cash jackpot.
Shortly afterwards, staff in the newsagency popped a bottle of champagne and celebrated a second stroke of fortune at the store.
While people always talk about what they would do if they won big, Mr Morgan took out a cheque for $200,000 and bought a house outright – much to the shock of the real estate agent – before investing the rest.
It allowed him to set up a comfortable life for himself and wife Lisa in Melbourne’s south-east, but things could easily have been very different.
‘They say you’re clinically dead for seven minutes, so I was clinically dead twice,’ Mr Morgan said.
‘I went into a coma and Dandenong Hospital said they were turning off the machine, because even if I came to I was going to be brain dead and a vegetable for all my life.
‘My sisters didn’t want them to turn it off, and there was a specialist from the Alfred Hospital who said: “We’ll take him but we want to use him as a guinea pig essentially and try different things, if one of them works, great”.
‘So I was shifted out to the Alfred and after 15 days I sat up in bed.’
Life since then has not been filled with the same luck Bill experienced in 1999.
A combination of heart problems and arthritis has taken its toll on the ‘medical miracle’.
Then there’s the recent loss of a nephew and his brother-in-law, while his sister is chronically sick in hospital.
But despite his personal battles, Mr Morgan is just grateful for the 22 extra years he’s had to enjoy life with Linda.
‘I’m either on the highest of highs, or the lowest of lows,’ Mr Morgan said.
‘But look, I’ve had a bonus of 22 years and that’s the way you have to live your life.
‘Every day I get up and put on my shoes, and even if I’m not real well I have a shuffle down the road and smell the roses, look at the sun and think about how lucky I am.
‘I won $250,000. The house I live in, I own. I’ve got a nice enough car that I own. Sure, I had to retire because the heart got too much and I’m riddled with arthritis, but it was all for the best.’