Gilberto Bueno played the lottery almost every day for 17 years, dreaming of a fortune that would bring an end to his nights stocking shelves in a Key Food supermarket in Queens.
Over the years, he won a couple of times, taking in a few thousand dollars. But last Saturday morning, as he checked his numbers on television from his home in Astoria, he realized his days in the supermarket had come to an end.
"I saw the first five numbers," he said in Spanish as New York Lottery's Yolanda Vega translated during a news conference Friday at Shea Stadium. "I was waiting for the sixth and then I went crazy."
The 44-year-old Bueno, who emigrated from the Dominican Republic 17 years ago, ran to tell his wife they were the winners of $105 million in a Mega Millions lottery drawing.
"Wow. My God. He was surprised," said Nelsy Pena, 45, his wife of nearly 24 years. "We were running around the house."
Bueno, who has a 23-year-old daughter and two grandchildren, bought five tickets last Friday at The Magazine Store on 31st Street in Astoria. He played his regular combination of numbers, but because last Friday, April 6, was Good Friday, he decided to choose No. 6 as his Mega Millions number. The winning combination was 24, 32, 34, 36, 39 and 6.
"I hoped always to retire my supermarket job by hitting the lottery," he said. "That same day, I quit."
Bueno - a huge Mets fan - had the only winning ticket in the April 6 drawing and his $105 million jackpot is the second largest Mega Millions payout in state history.
He emerged with Pena Friday from the left field bullpen to the cheers of more than 20 family members. Dressed in a dark suit and tie, he hugged Mr. Met and said he was thinking of using part of his winnings to buy Mets season tickets.
Bueno worked hard and didn't have the chance to see many games in person, said his brother-in-law, Nelson Pena, 41, of the Bronx.
Bueno was set to throw out the first pitch before Friday night's Mets vs. Nationals game and he hoped to meet Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado.
Bueno and Pena also plan to spend some of the $105 million on a dream house in Florida and they hope to continue to bring foster children into their home, something they have done regularly since moving to New York.
They said a big house and the first pitch assignment would not get to their heads.
"We're not going to change," said Pena. "We are humble people."
I was wondering where my MM jackpot went. Oh well guess I'll have to wait until the next 300 million jacpot rolls around.