Widower Becomes $1 Million Winner

CHOPU58 - Hit it Big_webA grocery store employee who goes by a nickname from his old neighborhood in Washington, D.C., won $1 million on the Hit It Big scratch-off ticket just three days after his wife passed away.

Three days after losing his wife, grocery store employee wins on Hit It Big scratch-off

A grocery store employee from Capitol Heights has experienced two life-changing occurrences in less than a week. The first was among his saddest moments. But the other made him a $1 million winner.

When he arrived at Lottery headquarters on Sept. 8 to claim his $1 million top prize on a Hit It Big scratch-off ticket, only one week had passed since the death of his wife. He purchased and scratched the winning ticket just three days after she passed away.

“I think she sent it to me, I really do,” the winner said. “It’s a blessing from God. I’ve never been rich. I’ll be able to do a lot of things I need to do at this moment. I’ll be able to lay her to rest the way she would have wanted. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”

The lucky winner is an avid scratch-off player and has won prizes before. He was a $10,000 winner on a $5 ticket several years ago and has had a few wins of $100 and $500. His $1 million prize was the result of persistence. After finishing his shift, he purchased four of the $20 Hit It Big tickets from a vending machine at the Safeway store at 5000 Bradley Blvd. in Bethesda, but didn’t win anything.

“I decided to try one more,” he said. “I scratched it and I looked and saw I matched the number for a million dollars, and I just stood up and said, ‘Oh my God.’ I was in temporary shock. I went to a couple of my co-workers – they were still working – and I said, ‘Look at this, I won a million dollars.’ And they said, ‘No you didn’t!’ They didn’t believe it, but they looked at the ticket and started hugging me.”

The father of four grown children and grandfather of five was married to his wife for three years, but they had been together as a couple for 15 years. He has no special plans for his prize money, but said he believes in “giving something back.”

“I want to do something for someone who really needs it,” he said. “Someone I don’t even know who really needs something.”

The retailer is a winner as well. For selling the winning ticket, the Safeway store will receive a $1,000 bonus from the Maryland Lottery. The Hit It Big ticket was launched in June, and this was the first of its three $1 million prizes to be claimed. That means there are still two more waiting to be found at retailers across the state, along with four $50,000 prizes and 24 $10,000 prizes.