Atul Tijoriwala sells 43 different types of lottery tickets at his Krauszer's corner store in New Brunswick, and in the year he's owned the store, his customers have been lucky.
In April, someone bought a Cash 5 lottery ticket that won $225,778. The next month, a customer bought a Pick 6 ticket that won $5,419 — and was one digit shy of netting $3 million.
But today, Tijoriwala knows one of his customers really hit the jackpot because he sold the sole win ning Mega Millions ticket, worth $47 million.
"This is just luck," Tijoriwala said. "This is something from God."
Tijoriwala, 42, learned yesterday the ticket was purchased at his Bayard Street store. The winning numbers were 3, 10, 18, 36, 38, with the Mega Ball number 41.
The winner has not come for ward, Tijoriwala said. He thinks an office worker bought the ticket. His store is half a block from New Brunswick City Hall and the Middlesex County Courts and Administration building.
The winning ticket was sold in Middlesex County, said Dominick DeMarco, a spokesman for the New Jersey Lottery Commission.
The last time New Jerseyans won the multistate Mega Millions jackpot was in September, when Harold and Helen Lerner of Ru therford, in Bergen County, won $258 million, the state's largest prize ever. The previous state record for the biggest single-ticket lottery jackpot is held by Sonny Judson of Cliffside Park, also in Bergen County, who won a $165 million Mega Millions drawing in July 2002.
Tijoriwala's brother-in-law, Biren "Billy" Majmundar, who owns a Krauszer's in Perth Amboy, said the family was elated to learn the news. Tijoriwala will receive a $10,000 bonus for selling the ticket.
"They've already sold two big tickets at that location," Majmun dar said. "Things are going good there. Everyone's going to be happy."
Yesterday, a trickle of customers came into the store, ready to play. Seven lottery ads hung in the store's window, and Tijoriwala hadn't touched the Mega Millions jackpot tally from Friday.
Juan Peres left with a clutch of scratch-off instant lottery tickets.
"I wish I bought that ticket," Peres said, adding he regularly plays Cash 5 and Mega Millions. "Whew. That's too much money to think about."
Another regular, John Durna, wasn't too surprised the winning ticket was sold at the store. The chef from Clydz martini bar said he regularly buys tickets from Tijori wala and recently won $600.
"Every day I'm buying a ticket," Durna said. "I've been playing the same numbers for the past three years. One day, they've got to come up."
If the store is lucky, Tijoriwala certainly tries to make it known. Taped to the center of the store's glass door is a photocopy of the Cash 5 lottery ticket that won $225,778.
Inside, Tijoriwala has made the frame around his cash register a shrine to all the winning tickets that have been purchased at his store. Each one is taped up, with the winning amounts highlighted.
"I've got more here that I haven't even put up yet," Tijori wala said, pulling out a large stack. "The customers, they like to see that. If I won, I'd like to see my ticket up there, so I can show it to others."
But outside the store is a shrine of a different kind. Behind a phone booth, there's a little crevice with dozens of used lottery tickets, once holding the promise of a jackpot, now crumpled and discarded.
Tijoriwala, an immigrant from Ahmedabad, India, knows the feel ing.
"My ticket wasn't the winner," Tijoriwala admitted, smiling. "I'm playing all the time. I want to be a millionaire, too."