Two days after leaving Las Vegas with a wheelbarrow of money, Mattress Mack began turning in $72.6 million in winnings from his World Series bets on the Astros.
Houston furniture store owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale hosted the first of three giveaway events Sunday for about 7,000 customers who took part in a promotion that guaranteed doubling the cashback on purchases of at least $3,000 if the Astros won a World Cup Series.
“Several of them broke down in tears and said it changed their lives,” said McIngvale, 71. “It’s a big deal for these customers.”
Jesse Martinez, 23, bought a $4,000 mattress set as a gift for his parents in July and was refunded $8,000.
“They complained that their mattress was stiff and they had back problems,” he said. “It was really lucky that the Astros won and was part of the promotion.
“If you do something nice for someone, it will always come back to you.”
Martinez, who works at the family’s auto repair business, was almost as excited to meet McIngvale as he was to receive his refund check.
“I’ve seen him on TV as long as I can remember. It was really nice to meet him in person. He was super genuine,” he said. “The Mack mattress has our back.
“Everyone calls him “Uncle Mack” or “Grandpa Mack.” When I got a picture with him, I sent it to my family and even my parents said “Abuelo Mack” which is Spanish for “Grandpa Mack”.
“The Living Saint”
Elyssa Horvath, a married mother of two, used garden chairs in her living room when she spent $4,700 on a living room set last summer. She recovered $9,400.
“I wasn’t even thinking about the World Series at the time,” said Horvath, 50. “Since I saw his ads as a kid, he said, ‘Gallery furniture will save you money,’ and he totally nailed it. .
“It was ‘Free, Free, Free,’ as he likes to say. As a result, I have become a regular customer of Gallery Furniture.”
Lisa Haas-Cristoph is an Ironman triathlete who has been sleeping on an air mattress for the past year when she broke her ribs in a bicycle accident in October. She continued training despite the pain, but wanted a good night’s sleep, so she bought a $5,000 mattress set.
The day after the victory, the Astros celebrated by running the 70.3-mile Half Ironman.
“I thought it would be great if I could get this refund because it would help me a lot,” said Cristoph, 59. “I have great admiration for Mr. McIngvale and the ethics he has towards his clients and our community.
“He’s almost like a living saint. I really feel that way.”
Several other customers also expressed admiration for McIngvale, especially how he turned his stores into refugee shelters during Hurricanes Harvey and Katrina.
Edgar Ruben Reyes said McIngvale has long been an inspiration to him.
Reyes, 48, has competed in three promotions and is a two-time winner after collecting a pair of checks for $13,396 each this week.
He also won $9,000 worth of furniture in the 2011 Super Bowl promotion when he selected the Packers to defeat the Steelers.
“The hardest thing was getting my wife to place the bet because I bought a king size adjustable double bed for $13,500,” he said. “I call it the Ferrari of beds.”
Reyes and his wife Lorena sweated out together in every game.
“We’ve invested 100 percent, emotionally and financially,” he said. “Every time Bryce Harper hit, I was sweating. We sweated super 2-1.
“Thank you Mack Mattress. You took a chance for us. We took a risk on the Astros.
“Gamblers at Heart”
Many people, including Darlene Taylor, did not know about the promotion when buying furniture.
She received a check back for $19,999 after buying $10,000 worth of furniture in August.
“When we checked out, they told us about this deal,” she said. “We were already fans of the Astros. But it definitely made the games more exciting. It got to the point where I couldn’t watch. They upset me too much.
“We are gamblers at heart. But not even in a million years did we dream that we would win something like this. It was amazing.
Michael Schaefer, 56, was also unaware of the promotion when he spent $12,500 on furniture in May. He got back $25,000 and was also lucky enough to get two free tickets to Game 6 of the World Series in Houston.
“At this point, I don’t know if I’m more excited about winning the Astros or about getting my $25,000,” he said. “The Mack mattress is a legend. I don’t think they’ll ever make another one like him.