"That guy is going to win someday."
By Kate Northrop
MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. — An Illinois man who won $3 million in the lottery while sitting in his car deliberately ran back into the store he bought his winning ticket at to give the owner a big hug.
An Illinois man with a big heart won a big prize in the Illinois Lottery last week, finally scooping up a $3 million prize on a scratch-off after years of trying.
Having just helped welcome his new grandson into the world, the lottery prize was the second wonderful thing to recently come into his life.
The winner elected to remain anonymous when telling his story to the Lottery, but the suburban Chicago player's excitement could easily be felt all the same.
"I'm no stranger to buying tickets — just ask my wife," he joked. "But I've definitely never won a prize like this before."
He stopped in at the 7-Eleven on West Northwest Highway in Mount Prospect, where he's been a regular customer for many years, and bought a $30 "200X Payout" scratch-off ticket.
"The owner, his wife, and his son are very nice people," the winner told the Lottery. "The owner said to his wife recently, 'That guy is going to win someday! He always comes in, sits in his truck, and scratches his tickets — and he's always so happy. He's definitely going to win."
Without hesitation, he ran back into the store from his car after revealing a $3 million top prize on the ticket.
"He was actually the first person I told," the winner continued. "After scratching the ticket in my truck, I ran back into the store and gave the owner a big hug. He scanned the ticket, and you should have seen the shocked look on his face!"
His wife was the next person to learn of the prize.
"When I got home, I left the winning ticket on the kitchen table for my wife to find," he recalled. "She said 'Are you messing with me? Is this real?' For years, she's joked with me, 'Can't you just win the lottery already?' Well, we did! And just in time for retirement."
Not only will the prize enable them to live securely, but it will allow the pair to prioritize their family.
"We've been planning our retirement for a while now, and winning the lottery helps us to be more comfortable with the decision," the winner said in a press release. "We're already planning to move near our daughter and son-in-law so that we can be closer to our new grandson."
Of course, part of retirement for the couple will now include a much-needed vacation.
"It will be nice to enjoy the win and bask in it a little," the anonymous man added. "My wife is big on traveling, so we were talking about taking a trip to Hawaii. It sounds like the perfect getaway to relax."
The 7-Eleven will receive a bonus of $30,000 for selling the winning ticket, or one percent of the prize, from the Lottery.
This lucky winner was the first person to claim one of the "200X Payout" game's three top prizes of $3 million. There are also 11 out of 16 second-tier prizes of $100,000 and 20 out of 24 third-tier prizes of $10,000 remaining. The odds of winning any prize in the game are 1 in 2.78.
According to the Lottery, over four million winning Illinois Lottery instant tickets have been sold this year so far, netting players over $105 million in prizes.