On Tuesday, Ken Garbe was told he had won $12,000 in the Lotto Super 7. Without his glasses, Garbe couldn't see the numbers himself, so he believed the lottery retailer at Park Royal Mall who checked his ticket.
It turns out the retailer missed a few digits.
Garbe's total winnings from the June 2 draw were $12,399,976 — the biggest jackpot so far this year, said Tamara Ibbott, spokeswoman for B.C. Lottery Corp.
Garbe, 52, purchased the lucky ticket at Oakridge Mall. The winning numbers were randomly selected in a quick pick.
Garbe, who works as a foreman for the Vancouver school board, waited a day before claiming the prize he thought was $12,000. Initially, he said, he just planned to pay off some debts.
He visited B.C. Lottery's Richmond office on Wednesday.
Lynn Preston, a payout officer with B.C. Lottery, said most big winners can be identified as they walk in the door. "Usually, they're very nervous," she said.
Garbe was calm and composed.
Garbe's girlfriend, Lida Konichek, was with him, but she asked for directions to the washroom, leaving Garbe alone.
Garbe put the validation slip showing the prize value on the counter. Seeing the huge number, Preston slapped her hand on the table and shouted, "Wow! Congratulations!"
"He was very surprised by my reaction," Preston said.
"He said, 'I think I need to sit down,' " she recalled.
Preston said Garbe told her he couldn't see the numbers, as he didn't have his glasses. She brought out a magnifying glass so he could see for himself.
Ibbott said Garbe's first reaction was to call his son. Garbe promised over the phone to buy him the truck he'd always wanted. He told B.C. Lottery staff he also planned to retire from his school board job, buy a new house and do some travelling.
Garbe received his prize Thursday at a press conference in the hangar of London Air Charter at the Vancouver airport's south terminal.
Garbe, who is recovering from recent knee surgery, got out of his wheelchair and hobbled up the steps for a look inside a private jet he now can afford to hire, before returning to a white limo.
Asked on his way out what he planned to do with his $12 million, Garbe looked at Konichek.
"Put it in the bank," he said.
She looked back and smiled.