Rick Jesionowski of Cleveland hit the lottery twice last year, hauling in $2,500, then $10,000. He hit again this month. $2 million.
"The lottery's been good to me," he said at a Wednesday news conference. "I've also hit a thousand a few times."
Luck? You bet.
When a reporter asked Jesionowski what his secret was for winning, the lucky man pulled three stones out of his jeans — jade for luck, crystal for energy and rose quartz for love. He said he has been carrying the stones in his pocket for 30 years.
Then from his wallet he pulled out a 1921 silver dollar he carries and a picture of Jesus. "I try to cover all my bases," he said.
Jesionowski, 50, a furnace operator for an electronics parts manufacturer in Strongsville, lives in a 104-year-old house in the West Side Cleveland neighborhood where he grew up.
He was one of 16 people eligible for the Ohio Lottery's Top Prize Drawing after he won $2,500 from an instant Bonus Millions ticket.
The $2 million Top Prize Drawing was held Dec. 3, but lottery officials didn't tell Jesionowski he was the winner until Wednesday.
The plan was to surprise him at the news conference. To lure him to their downtown offices, lottery officials told him he had to sign papers to be eligible for the drawing.
But Jesionowski said none of that made sense, and he guessed he was the winner. The jaw-dropping surprise was blown.
In the glare of lights from television news cameras however, Jesionowski was as happy as a wide-eyed kid on Christmas morning. "I'm going right over to Central Cadillac and test-drive a Hummer," he said.
During the news conference, Jesionowski's 29-year-old daughter, Jinger, got a call on her cell phone from her uncle Larry. "Dad just won $2 million," she told him. "Are you kidding?" Uncle Larry cried through the speaker phone. "Good for him. God bless him."
Jesionowski's son, James, 29, who is in the Air Force in Youngstown, also called during the news conference. "I just won $2 million, son," Jesionowski said.
Jesionowski, an ex-Marine, played football for Holy Name High School. He said he plans to stay in his old neighborhood and keep working.
"I like my job," he said. "I make good money."