Winner credits an act of kindness for his second big win
By Kate Northrop
ATLANTIC, Iowa — One loyal Iowa Lottery player is reliving the moment he won the lottery after bagging his second major prize within two years.
Delbert Littleton of Atlantic said the moment he found out he had won another six-figure lottery prize took his breath away, but it's not the first time it happened.
In June 2020, the 64-year-old had presented a winning ticket for a $25,000 a year for life Lucky for Life prize to the Iowa Lottery. At the time, the Lottery's lobbies were not open to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, but regardless, it was a life changing win that gave him plenty of hope for the future. After getting his winner's photo taken outside, he opted to take the prize as a lump sum of $390,000.
Two years later, Littleton is still faithfully playing the lottery. Just last week, he landed another winning ticket.
Last Monday morning, the Atlantic resident headed out to buy some Easter groceries at the local Walmart. When he left the store, a woman was busy unloading a full cart of groceries into her car. Since she was parked right beside him in the parking lot, he said, "let me help you get these in your car for you" and put her cart away when he was finished.
He then went down the road to the Murphy USA gas station on East Seventh Street in Atlantic and figured he would try out one of the newest scratch-off games, a $10 "Power 10X" ticket. As it turns out, the first ticket he bought was a $20 winner, so he went back to the clerk and asked for two more tickets from the same game.
The lottery tickets became a second thought as he tossed them on the kitchen table to unload his groceries.
It's a good thing he went back to the clerk to ask for those extra tickets — he was on a winning streak. The first ticket he scratched off was yet another winner, this time for $10.
"Well, I haven't done too bad," Littleton recalled thinking to himself at the time. "At least I got half my money back."
Then came the second ticket. Instead of scratching off a matching number, he revealed a lightning bolt symbol, which wins a shown prize instantly. He innocently believed that maybe he won all his money back, but it was worth much more than he thought.
Having discovered that he had just won the game's $100,000 top prize, the double-lucky winner had to relive the motions of an incredible win all over again.
"It kind of took my breath away," he said in an interview with the Lottery. "My heart started racing. I went into the living room and had to sit down for a second, and once I collected my thoughts, I went ahead and called my wife on the phone. I had to pull the phone away from my ear because she yelled as soon as I told her!"
Littleton was in the kitchen with his wife, Jodi, when he won the $25,000 a year Lucky for Life prize in 2020. The first big win called for a spontaneous dance celebration. This time around, his dog was the one who witnessed the momentous occasion.
"He probably thought I was crazy because I was just running around," Littleton joked. "He got up real quick, and his ears perked up and he just looked at me. He probably thought something was wrong."
While on the phone with his wife, he told her he would show her the winning ticket as proof of the win and put it in a safe place in the meantime.
Littleton, who works at a long-term care facility, pondered the possibility of coming into a second major lottery win because of the kindness he showed the woman in the Walmart parking lot.
However, it doesn't appear that the lucky winner will be slowing down his lottery purchases anytime soon. After winning the $100,000 top prize in the "Power 10X" game, he visited a different retailer and bought another ticket from the game.
The clerk was surprised that he would continue to play the same game after winning the top prize already, but Littleton said he's not aiming for large prizes when he plays the lottery, referencing two more $50 prizes he had won by playing the same game.
The employee was also shocked that the first top prize had already been won since the game was just launched two weeks ago.
"I don't know [how], but I ain't gonna question it!" Littleton quipped.
In an interview with the winner, a Lottery spokesperson said that part of the surprise is that scratch-off lottery tickets are randomly distributed, and that both players and the Lottery don't know which retailers the winning tickets are sent to as part of security procedures.
"Anytime there [are] new games that come out, I always get tickets from [them]," Littleton told the spokesperson. "I like the new [games]. I'll keep playing them even though they run their course, but anytime there's a new game out, I'll go buy the tickets."
After taking the first lump-sum prize of $390,000, he and Jodi had bought two new cars, paid off and sold their old house, purchased a new home, and installed a deck and a storage shed on the property.
With their second lottery prize, Littleson plans on making his life around the new home a little easier.
"I'm getting kind of tired of doing the push mower thing, so I'm going to get a riding lawnmower," he said. "And the rest, we're going to be able to take more in vacation this year and the rest of it, just stash it like we did the first time."
With COVID-19 easing up, he says this win is "a little icing on the cake."
"It gives me a nice perspective on retirement," the winner continued. "It makes the thought of retirement a little more relaxing."
Littleton claimed the first of eight top prizes of $100,000 from the $10 "Power 10X" scratch-off game on Friday. The game also offers 23 second-tier prizes of $2,000 and 23 third-tier prizes of $1,000.
The Iowa man is not the only lottery winner seeing double — just last week, a North Carolina woman collected her second big jackpot win of $700,000.
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