Ricky Rehberg always knew playing lottery scratch-offs would pay off.
The Hayward resident, who said he has been playing scratch-off tickets for about 16 years, won $120,000 on the California Lottery's Big Spin television program that aired Saturday.
"It was so amazing. Something like this has never happened to me," Rehberg said.
Rehberg, 49, actually won the money on the show a couple of months ago, but the program took a while to air, he said. Since then, he has paid off bills, bought new furniture, put money down on a new house, and put aside $2,000 for each of his five children.
Rehberg said he bought the ticket that qualified him to go on the show several months ago at T & M Liquor Store, 16900 E. 14th St. in Ashland. He was on his way home from a former job at a tire shop.
Rehberg's performance on the TV show's first two games landed him an opportunity he had always hoped for, "to spin the big wheel," and potentially win $3 million.
"I guess it was not my time yet to win the $3 million," he said. "But believe me, I'm not going to stop trying."
Despite his windfall, Rehberg is job hunting. He has adopted four children -- three are his nieces and one is his newborn grandson, he said. With his wife, Deanne, he's also fostering another niece, he said.
Rehberg grew up in Oakland and went to the former Pacific High School in San Leandro.