Lucky Penny Helps Halethorpe Man Win Lottery Loot

$10K $10,000 Gold Rush Thompson_web

James Thompson fills up his tank and pockets after winning $10,000 playing the $10,000 Gold Rush game.

Claims top prize on $10,000 Gold Rush scratch-off

A Halethorpe man was tanked up with excitement after a gas-fueling stop led to his top-prize win on the Maryland Lottery’s $10,000 Gold Rush game. James Thompson stopped to fill up his tank at US Fuel in Arbutus and filled up his pockets, too, with a $10,000 prize.

His decision to buy the $2 instant ticket was a fluke, as was being handed a lucky penny to scratch off the game. The 49-year-old normally plays $5 and $10 scratch-offs. “I just feel like the odds are better,” he said. While in line at the Lottery retailer located at 4305 Southwestern Boulevard, the father of one watched the lady in front of him pick the $2 $10,000 Gold Rush scratch-off. That sight made him try his luck on the lower-priced ticket, too.

“I had a $20 bill, so I told the cashier to give me 10 of those and to hand me a lucky penny,” he said.

Before he put that lucky penny into use, James shared a unique way of discovering how he’s a winner or not. “I scan the tickets first and then I scratch them,” he said. He did that this time and the scanner message said to go to Lottery headquarters to claim his prize on one of the tickets. He scanned the scratch-off a second time and received the same message. Feeling excited, James then used that lucky penny to scratch the ticket and reveal the $10,000 win.

“That’s when reality set in,” he said, grinning. “This is so surreal.”

James couldn’t contain his good news and went straight to his mother’s house, waking her up to tell her what just happened and to have her accompany him to Lottery headquarters. The two talked about going to breakfast first but James was too afraid he might drop his winning ticket. Instead, the hungry pair came straight to the Lottery’s Customer Resource Center in Baltimore.

The single parent of a 3-year-old daughter said the win comes right on time, because he’s recently unemployed. He shared that he will eventually add to his $10,000 win to purchase a new car.