Dennis Mebane won $100,000 in the N.C. Lottery, but chances are you're not going to find him if you want to look up your long-lost and now deep-pocketed buddy.
Mebane, who lives south of Reidsville, told lottery officials not to release the photo of him receiving the ceremonial check after turning in his winning scratch-off ticket Tuesday morning.
A visit to his house during the afternoon resulted in nobody opening the door.
On Tuesday the nearby gas station on U.S. 29 Business where Mebane usually plays had a sign that read "Closed, July 15-July 22."
"When the store opens back up on Friday, I am going by to tell him that's one vacation I am glad he took," Mebane was quoted as saying in a N.C. Lottery release.
That vacation sent him to another store to play — Huff's Shell on Barnes Street near the U.S. 29 intersection — and hit it big.
Mebane, a truck driver for 30 years, bought the "Winner Take All" ticket at the Huff Barnes Street No. 211 store in Reidsville.
Lottery officials were the only people he talked to about his winnings.
"Everybody that comes in for a big money winning, we tell them that the name and the amount they won and the town that they're from are public information," said lottery spokeswoman Pam Walker, adding that many choose not to talk to media. "Some are a little gun-shy about that."
Even when he called lottery offices in Raleigh on Monday to say that he was coming to collect, he didn't leave his name in a phone message, Walker said.
Mebane went to Raleigh on Tuesday to collect his prize, $68,001.60 after taxes, from the state lottery commission and becomes the third winner of the $5 "Winner Take All" game.
Kristi Gauldin, an employee at Huff's Shell, sold the winning ticket to Mebane. Gauldin said Mebane came in sometime during the afternoon, and that "Winner Take All" ticket was the only one he purchased of that game and the only one she sold all day.
"He left and then came back 30 minutes later to show me the ticket. We scanned it and (the computer) said 'Pick up prize in Raleigh,'" Gauldin said. When asked whether or not she would get any of the prize, Gauldin said "He said he'd be back to tip me."
Gauldin said if Mebane had not bought that ticket, she was planning on buying it after her shift ended at 10 p.m. Gauldin said as an employee, she could not buy tickets while on the job. Before Mebane's big prize, Gauldin said the largest ticket the gas station had sold was worth $250.
Mebane joins Debbie Schenck of Salisbury and Felisha Hines of Greenville, the state's two other top prize winners playing "Winner Take All." There are still seven $100,000 prizes left in the game, which was introduced June 27.
Mebane's luck didn't end with the $100,000 win. Mebane said he even won $10 in a game on his way to pick up his prize from Raleigh.