Tennessee man carried winning raffle ticket in his wallet
"It was a little surreal."
That was the reaction Kathy Checchin of Murfreesboro had when her husband, Rick, called to tell her they were million-dollar winners in the Tennessee Lottery.
(Winning numbers: http://www.lotterypost.com/specialresults/tn-lottery-raffle-2007-05-14.asp)
Her husband won the money May 14 in the Million $ Madness drawing. He just didn't know he had until Thursday.
"I bought the tickets and just held onto them. I stuck them in my wallet," he said Thursday. "I forgot they were in there."
Checchin works for the Standard Candy Co. in Nashville, and when he overheard his co-workers talking about the lottery, he remembered his tickets and asked if the Million $ Madness numbers had been drawn.
"They said, 'Yes, a long time ago,' " Checchin said. "They said, 'There's still a winner out there some place.' "
Pulling his tickets from the wallet, he called the lottery phone number.
"They went through the numbers so fast, I didn't catch them," Checchin said. "So I went online."
Even after seeing his numbers on the computer screen, Checchin didn't quite believe it. "I hollered at the people to come verify it, and they said, 'Oh, my gosh!' " he said.
The winning ticket was one of two Checchin bought March 8 and was one of four
$1 million winners. The other three prizes were claimed within three days.
Million $ Madness was a raffle-style game with a limited number of tickets. All 800,000 tickets sold out before the drawing May 14, in which four winners of $1 million were selected, as well as two winners of $50,000 and 100 $500 winners. As an added bonus, each retailer who sold a $1 million ticket received $5,000.
Once he was sure the numbers were right, Checchin called his wife. "I'm sitting in the waiting room - my son was having his wisdom teeth cut out," she said. "I was shaken. When someone calls you and asks if you're sitting down, it's not usually good news."
"Between me, the wife and our kids, we'll have no trouble spending it," Checchin joked.
The Checchins agree on one point - they aren't ready to turn in their two-week notices just yet, even on the estimated $750,000 they'll get after taxes.
"It's a lot of money," Checchin said. "But it's not that much."