Four tedious hours of searching later, and he has the winning ticket
By Kate Northrop
A North Carolina man bent on finding the last top prize in a lottery scratch-off game conducted a modern day treasure hunt and came out the big winner.
Last Thursday, one North Carolina resident traveled to 40 different stores in a crusade to find the last top prize-winning ticket for a scratch-off lottery game. Four well-spent hours later, his tenacity lands him exactly what he was looking for — a $5 million jackpot.
One day, Kevin Clark, of Candler, had his sights set on that one remaining top prize for the $5,000,000 Mega Cash scratch-off game, which has been active for over three years now. He set out on a four-hour journey, hopping from store to store to buy every single one of those $20 tickets he could find.
Finally, his efforts brought him to the Stop N Go convenience store at a gas station on U.S. 70 in Swannanoa, where he purchased the last top-prize winning ticket of the game.
“I had a real good feeling it was going to be in the western part of the state,” Clark explained in a press release. “I scanned it with my phone, and it told me to go see a retailer. So, I scratched it off, and when I scratched it off, I couldn’t believe it. I started shaking. And then I cried.”
According to the North Carolina Education Lottery, Clark had reportedly “put in the research” before finally deciding that he would take a big risk in buying up every ticket from the game he could find.
“There was only a handful of stores that even had them,” he said.
Clark opted not to go into work on Monday morning and instead went to lottery headquarters in Raleigh to claim his winnings. He had the choice of taking either the $5 million prize as an annuity of $250,000 every year for 20 years or a lump sum of $3 million. He decided on the one-time payment and took home $2,122,506 — well worth the four hours of searching.
First things first, the winner plans on getting a good night’s sleep after the excitement of winning kept him up for days. Beyond that, Clark says he wants to get into real estate.
“I’m a simple man, and I mow grass,” he told the lottery. “but I’ve always been interested in real estate, so my biggest plans with the majority of the money is to invest in real estate and some small businesses.”