Man realizes he has $1 million lottery ticket while pumping gas

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The way Richard Valentine sees it, it was just “dumb luck” that led him to a $1 million lottery prize.

Valentine, a facilities operations specialist who lives in Bahama in Durham County, walked into the Kangaroo Express on N.C. 54 on Wednesday, hoping to buy one of the new holiday scratch-offs. The store didn’t have the one he wanted, Holiday Gold, so he switched to another $10 ticket, Platinum 7’s. Then, while pumping gas, he scratched his way to the game’s top prize.

“Dumb luck,” Valentine said later that day at lottery headquarters. ”Nobody wins this because they plan on it. You stumble onto it.”

The hardest thing, Valentine said, was making sure his eyes were not tricking him. He said he left the convenience store, went to a nearby Hardee’s, and sat there alone with the $1 million ticket. “I looked at the numbers, multiple times, probably 30 times,” Valentine said. “I thought I was seeing things. It’s just one of those things that doesn’t want to sink it.”

A $1 million prize in the game can be claimed in 20 annuity payments of $50,000 or a one-time payment of $600,000. Valentine chose the lump sum, worth $415,503 after required withholdings. He said he planned to put the money into savings.

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