Excavator Unearths Last $50,000 Top-Prize Scratch-off

Paul Hooper Jr. - $50 Grand Slam

Paul Hooper Jr. of Gettysburg won $50,000 on a $50 Grand Slam
scratch-off ticket bought in Westminster.

Unburies final top-tier $50 Grand Slam ticket in Westminster

An excavating foreman who topped off his Saturday night scratch-off purchases with a $50 Grand Slam ticket unearthed the final $50,000 top-prize ticket for sale in Maryland. Paul Hooper Jr. of Gettysburg is sure glad his evening “fishing” trip hooked a scratch-off winner instead of a future dinner.

The construction worker did have a little explaining to do, however, when he got home to share the great news of his win with his wife. You see, he misled her a bit about his evening plans. “I told her I was going fishing and I went and played scratch-offs,” he said, sheepishly.

Because he lives in Pennsylvania and works in Maryland, the 56-year-old plays scratch-offs in both states. The father of an adult son and grandfather of one, Paul plays a variety of Lottery games from Keno to scratch-offs. The avid scratcher won $10,000 on a Pennsylvania scratch-off but had always lacked a big win in Maryland.

This night, he visited a Westminster store to indulge his scratch-off hobby. He bought and scratched a batch of tickets.

“I didn’t know I won,” he said. “I was standing in line to cash my tickets and then they told me I won. They all know me there. I started shaking. My legs got really weak. They said, ‘Are you ok, Paul? Should we call an ambulance? Come over here and sit down.’ ”

He declined the ambulance and eventually headed home. “You don’t understand what it feels like when you see that $50,000,” he said. “This is the biggest thing I’ve ever won. I’m still in shock.”

Paul zoomed home to his wife, arriving around 11:30 p.m. He woke her up and told her to put on her glasses and look at his winning ticket.

“I am one excited person,” he said, grinning. “I am very happy now.”

He carried the winning ticket with him all weekend, showing it to people.

With his winnings, Paul plans to give his wife a gift of hardwood floors in the living room and treat her to a fall trip to Ocean City. He’ll play more scratch-offs and bank most of the money to tide him over during the winter months when construction is slow.

Paul found his lucky scratch-off ticket at Jiffy Mart #433 at 74 W. Main St. in Westminster.