The Florida Lottery held a celebration at the Circle K on Capital Circle Northeast on Wednesday. Cynthia O'Connell presented the manager of the Circle K, Patrice Richardson, with a $150,000 check and a plaque to commemorate Florida's 1,000th jackpot winner, who bought his ticket at the Circle K that Richardson manages.
It can be hard to tell who is more impacted by a $50 million lottery ticket.
Richard McMullen, the 54-year old Tallahassee resident and jackpot winner, has stayed out of the public eye since the lottery results were announced last week. Florida Lottery officials said he has requested "minimal media coverage."
The Circle K where he bought the multi-million-dollar ticket, on the other hand, hasn't stopped buzzing with attention and customers hoping for lightning to strike a second time.
It's a strange situation, and one that was completely unexpected, said store manager Patrice Richardson. She was not in the store when McMullen bought his ticket, but she said figuring things out was easy once the media started calling.
"Tuesday (Dec. 27) we started getting the calls," she said. "By Wednesday (Dec. 28) everyone was coming in asking, 'Can I get a ticket?' It's everybody. Even people who have never even played before are coming in." Florida Lottery officials honored the Circle K on Capital Circle Northeast by Miccosukee Road on Wednesday for its contributions to the Lottery and for selling the ticket that created Florida's 1,000th jackpot winner — the ninth in Tallahassee.
McMullen was conspicuously absent from the celebration where Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell presented Richardson with a plaque and a check for $150,000 to commemorate Circle K's contributions to the lottery and the educational funds the lottery aids.
O'Connell said it's up to individual winners whether or not they choose to step into the spotlight after picking up millions of dollars. She said the real purpose of the lottery is to provide funds for education.
Connie Barnes, spokeswoman for the Florida Lottery, said since 2001, Circle K stores across Florida have made $1.459 billion in revenue from lottery sales. More than $400 million of that has gone back to educational funds.
"It's all about education," she said. "The mission of the Florida Lottery is to build revenue for education. We make monthly transfers to the Department of Education. Hundreds of millions of dollars."
She added the lotto's partnership with Circle K and other retailers is "symbiotic." Jeff Powell, the regional operations director for Circle K in Florida, agreed. He was also present for the presentation of the $150,000 check.
"I'm very excited to be working with the Florida Lottery in this," he said. "This is some great exposure for us at Circle K and our partnership with the lotto is very strong."
Powell wasn't the only excited one. Tiffany Mitchell, a customer service representative at the now-famous Circle K, said she might try playing the same numbers for the next decade in the hope of winning a $50 million bonus. That was the strategy McMullen employed until he won the jackpot.
The winning numbers were 2, 11, 15, 19, 24 and 26. McMullen got all six correct on Christmas Eve.
"As soon as they found out (McMullen) won, I was here in the store to hear all the hoopla," she said. "It was awesome. They say we have the lucky touch or the magic touch. Everyone is feeling the aura out here.