WATSON, La. — It's the biggest thing to hit Watson, Louisiana, since the new WalMart; granted, the new superstore opened Wednesday, but it's hard to overshadow an event like that.
"It's hard to believe," says Ingrid King as she sips sweet tea inside Rotolo's restaurant.
Lottery officials say six different $1 million Mega Millions lottery prizes were won from tickets sold at a gas station in Watson, Louisiana.
The winning tickets were drawn in Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing.
Louisiana Lottery officials say earlier this week, a 52-year-old Denham Springs man entered the store to buy a Mega-Millions lottery ticket. He played the same five numbers: 2, 6, 12, 31, and 48. With each play, he chose a different Mega-Ball number, then filled in the "multiplier" box and paid the cashier six dollars.
Tuesday night, the Mega-Millions machine spit out those same five numbers. The 52-year old won $250,000 — three times. When the multiplier ball dropped, his $750,000 quadrupled to $3 million.
He claimed his prize at Louisiana Lottery Headquarters Wednesday.
That alone would be enough to switch the gossip from everyday low prices to millionaires. "It's very crazy, if you want to know the truth," says Micia Hood. She's been making and receiving phone calls all day searching for a relative or friend who might be a freshly minted millionaire. "You can't wait to find out who it is, and you hope it's somebody you know."
But what's even bigger news, is there's another $3 million ticket out there, yet to be claimed.
Apparently, the winning ticket was inadvertently printed twice. According to workers at the store, that ticket sat behind the counter a couple of hours before someone walked in and agreed to buy it.
"If that's the case," says Hood, "then he's supposed to have it. Everybody says, 'Who would have thought Watson would ever have a WalMart?' and then the very next day, you hear that two people — probably someone you know — have been blessed enough to win the lottery. Not one but two."
Call it karma or just a happy accident, but it's got everyone in Watson re-checking their lottery numbers.
After state and federal taxes, the Denham Springs man claimed a total of $2.1 million dollars, lottery spokeswoman Kimberly Chopin said.
The owner of the gas station will receive a bonus of $60,000, or one percent of the prize, for selling the winning tickets.