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NC couple married 70 years has weekly lottery tradition that finally paid off

Feb 3, 2020, 11:09 am

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North Carolina LotteryNorth Carolina Lottery: NC couple married 70 years has weekly lottery tradition that finally paid offRating:

For James and Maxine Hilliker of Lumberton, North Carolina, a tradition of playing the lottery together led to a $768,862 Cash 5 jackpot win a week before their 70th wedding anniversary.

"Our wedding anniversary is next week and today is my 90th birthday," said James after receiving the big check. "I can't even believe this is real. I just can't believe it."

For the Hillikers, playing Cash 5 together is a weekly tradition that has become a special part of their morning routine.

"We go to the same store every Tuesday," said Maxine. "We always play the same numbers. I've been playing them for over 22 years in California, Florida and now North Carolina. We use my birthday, my husband's birthday, and the birthdays of my three sisters. We've never won anything big."

Little did the Hillikers know, when they stopped by the Sun-Do Kwik Shop on North Roberts Avenue in Lumberton and purchased a seven-day multidraw Cash 5 ticket, their fun tradition wouldn't feel quite as normal this time around. 

James found out they had the only winning ticket for Saturday's drawing while reading the newspaper Monday morning. He didn't tell Maxine right away because he didn't want to spoil the surprise until they checked their numbers together, just like they do every morning.

"I always read them out to her," said James. "I call out the numbers and she writes them down and checks them."

Wanting to keep Maxine from noticing something was different this time, James started the routine with his favorite line.

"I told her, 'I think you're going to like these numbers today,'" said James recalling the moment. Maxine then said, like she always does, 'You always say that and we only ever match three numbers!' So I read them out and she looked shocked. Then she told me to read those again. So I read them out again."

"I told him that I had them all," said Maxine. "I had every single number."

The Hillikers claimed their prize Thursday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. After required state and federal tax withholdings, they took home $543,970. They said they plan to take a cruise with the money, but are not sure what to do with the rest yet.   

Cash 5 is a statewide draw game that gives players the chance to win a jackpot every single night. Tickets cost $1 and players can buy tickets at most lottery retailers or through Online Play on the lottery's website. The jackpot for Friday's drawing is $250,000.

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11 comments. Last comment 11 months ago by ThatScaryChick.
Page 1 of 1
United States
Member #163184
January 22, 2015
2404 Posts

Sure made me smile, beautiful well written story on their big lottery win.   NCEL is probably the last state lottery they'll play unless they venture out of state to play.   Perseverance certainly paid off handsomely for this feel good story.

    dpoly1's avatar - driver
    United States
    Member #66139
    October 16, 2008
    1998 Posts

    What a great story!

    Thumbs Up

    dpoly1 - Playing the lottery to save the jobs of those that build, transport, sell & maintain luxury items! -


    Eschew Poverty ........... Vote Conservative!

      Cassie8620's avatar - oGH0ok
      United States
      Member #180566
      March 13, 2017
      4503 Posts

      i am loving this congrats. i am so happy for them, both.

      My parents happily still "in love" and have that real true love,


      that do not exist for alot,of folks for past decade or 2 decades..." LOL

      but they have MORE CASH and REAL LOVE and true to life both and i am smiling reading and i am very happy to see this couple, going strong,like my folks married almost 64 yrs in june. I hope they get to enjoy $$$the cash some of it, and live healthier and well like BETTY WHITE who i think just turned in 2020 "98."

      Congratulations you two... Congrats!White Bounce



      Winnings in 2020:


      So,Let's Go NC !!!Banana Time 2 break the bank, baby!!!

      0310 0131 0383  1034 0908 1623 2460 2464 2852 3009 3522 3686  4068 4130

      5018 4058 6630 6683 6384 4767 4768 6393  7447 7546 7647 7687 7678 

      6442 0305 0306 1061 1106,1120,1130 1016 2013 4130 1610 

      1117,1211 1212 1031 1034, 1215,7678 7897, 7898 8768 8486

      4764 4774 6747 7077   4774 7447 3533,5592,5593,5910,5925 

      7640 7689 7898 8667 8798 9009 9393 9170 9817 9957

        KY Floyd's avatar - lysol avatar.jpg
        United States
        Member #23834
        October 16, 2005
        4326 Posts

        It must be nice to win enough money to last the rest of your life. It must sukc to wait until you're 90 before it finally happens.

          Chasing $ Millions.
          White Shores- California
          United States
          Member #136473
          December 12, 2012
          6499 Posts

          Well done James and Maxine...

          dan aykroyd film GIF 


          This calls for a celebration.

           * Voice of Reason *   


          People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

            North Carolina
            United States
            Member #149567
            December 3, 2013
            339 Posts

            So happy for this wonderful couple! Patience and Persistence pays off!!

            tempus omnia revelat

              Vergie6's avatar - DSCN4488
              North Carolina
              United States
              Member #59853
              March 29, 2008
              51205 Posts

              So happy for both of them...same thing happened one time for an older couple here in Greensboro when he & his wife won the 12 million dollar mega millions jackpot (1st one here in NC) & took home 7.7 million back in 2010. He had played the

              same numbers since the lottery started here in 2006 & they were birthdays in the family too.

              I knew his sister and she told me he won before he claimed it and I did not believe her but she finally convinced me

              he did....he got all of his ducks in a row before he claimed it a little over a month later...bought an RV and left town right after he and his wife got the money for the western part of the US.

              I used to buy my tickets on the way home from my job at the claims office here and I told them I knew someone who won but had not come forward and when I described him to them they said someone fit that description who had come in and ask a lot of questions about if someone won...he knew he'd have to go to Raleigh to get it.

              I didn't tell them who it was....don't think if I won I would be able to wait a month to come forward.

              Here's the link to it.



              Just read it and saw this post from rdgrnr on there who we never found out what happened to him

              as he suddenly stopped posting...he was such a funny and nice man...we miss him so much!



              George Micheal is singing in heaven now & the angels are cheering him on!

                db101's avatar - RB55Ms1

                United States
                Member #202923
                December 14, 2019
                311 Posts

                Cute story and I hope they get many more years to enjoy it together.

                  United States
                  Member #32651
                  February 14, 2006
                  9078 Posts

                  Playing the same numbers every drawing is a common playing strategy and it certainly paid off for this couple!

                  It's not my fault! I voted for Amy.

                    music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
                    USN United States Navy
                    Fresno, California
                    United States
                    Member #157851
                    August 2, 2014
                    3959 Posts

                    What a beautiful 70th wedding anniversary present.  $543,970.00!!  Playing the same numbers for 22 years.

                     Happy 90th birthday James! 

                     "We are all in this together!" 

                      ThatScaryChick's avatar - giphy11resized
                      United States
                      Member #56504
                      November 21, 2007
                      6709 Posts

                      Ah, lovely! I hope they enjoy their win.

                      "twitter - youtube - steam - tumblr"