Burt Isabell had this reaction Tuesday when he learned he'd won $1 million in the Tennessee Lottery: "I just started hollering, 'You're looking at a millionaire!'"
"No one half-believed me," he said. "Then I showed 'em the ticket and of course they asked to borrow some money."
Isabell, of Sylacauga, Ala., and David Smith of the Old Hickory section of Nashville were the first of four winners to come forward to claim their $1 million in the state's first Million $ Madness game. The other two are unknown.
Smith, who remodels homes for a living, got a call at his job site from his wife Monday night after she saw their winning number flash on the screen during the Tennessee Lottery's telecast.
"The people were wondering what happened because I was yelling so loud," said Smith, 49. "I finished working and went home to celebrate."
Both winners showed up at work Tuesday morning, at least briefly, and plan to keep their jobs. After 25 percent in federal taxes is taken off the top, they will collect about $750,000 each.
However, Isabell, 61, expects to retire in September when he'll be eligible for Social Security benefits. But will he need them with his new wealth?
"You can never tell," saidIsabell, who makes $75,000 annually as sales manager for a beer distributorship.
He intends to invest much of the prize and pay a few bills.
And on his way home, he planned to stop and buy some Powerball tickets.
"I've got to play that, too," he said.
A co-worker visiting Tennessee bought the winning ticket for Isabell, as well as seven other tickets.
"I'll reward him with $500," Isabell promised.
Smith, meanwhile, plans to move into a bigger home "and have a nest egg for when we retire." His wife has worked in real estate but has let her license lapse.
Smith said he wasn't really sure how much he earnsannually, "but it hasn't been this much."
In Monday's drawing, there also were two winners of $50,000 each and 100 winners of $500 each.
Tickets cost $10 apiece and went on sale in January. The game meant an estimated $3.2 million in proceeds for education in the state.
"I've been playing since the lottery has been around and I've been happy to donate to the college fund," Smith said, laughing. "Now it's paid off."