The next stop for this retired Brooklyn bus driver is Easy Street.
Frederick McClendon claimed his $7 million prize Tuesday in the New York Lottery's Cash4Life draw game.
"I usually play the Powerball or Mega Millions games," said McClendon, who says he spent 15 years driving a bus in Brooklyn and the Bronx. "Instinct told me to buy a Cash4Life ticket this time."
McClendon said he bought his ticket to a bright new future on Nov. 24 when he walked into MX Wines & Spirits in Halsey St. in Brooklyn.
"Just happened to buy a Quick Pick," he said. "I cried. My first reaction was, I cried. Tears of joy."
A few days after the drawing, the wine store clerk told him someone bought the top-prize ticket. He checked his ticket and realized he was the lucky winner.
"I checked my ticket right in the store," said McClendon, who said he has bought tickets there off and on for many years.
McClendon said his family didn't buy his story right away.
"They didn't believe me," he said while standing beside his lawyer. "It's just like, you're lying."
McClendon, who plans to take a lump sum payment that amounts to $4.3 million after withholdings, said he plans to help his family and put aside some college money for his kids.
"It's about my family," he said. "I love my family."
Asked if he'll take public transportation again, McClendon smiled and said, "I have to, but I'd rather not discuss the reasons why."
McClendon is the 160th New Yorker to claim a prize of $1 million or more from 2014 drawings.
Lottery officials say there is still another $7 million Cash4Life winner out there who purchased the ticket in July at the Milky Way Deli on Ralph St. in Canarsie, Brooklyn — and has not collected his or her prize money.
Cash4Life is a multi-state game operated by the New York and New Jersey lotteries. Drawings are held Monday and Thursday at 8:57 pm.
(Click to display full-size in gallery)
Thanks to Leland for the tip.