A man in North Carolina couldn't believe his luck after landing what he described as a "once-in-a-lifetime" lottery prize.
Jerry Cooper, of Newport, recently stopped by the Waves Mart & Grill on N.C. 24 where he picked up a $10 50X The Cash scratch-off ticket, according to a release from the NC Education Lottery. When he scratched off the ticket, he revealed that he was the lucky winner of one of the game's top prizes of $1 million.
"I was in total disbelief," he said. "It's one of those once-in-a-lifetime things."
The Carteret County man called his wife to tell her the incredible news, but like many other lottery winners before him who've shared news of their wins with loved ones, she didn't believe him at first.
"I told her, 'You're not going to believe this. I think we just won a million bucks,'" he recalled. "She thought I was joking."
Cooper claimed his prize at lottery headquarters on Tuesday (May 23), where he had the choice of accepting his win as either an annuity of $50,000 over the course of 20 years or as a one time, lump sum payment of $600,000. In the end, he chose the latter, taking home an amazing $427,503 after all required state and federal tax withholdings.
When asked what he plans to do with his winnings, he told lottery officials he hopes to put some of the funds away for his retirement, help pay for his son's wedding and take a family trip to the mountains. As of now, though, he's just basking in his good luck.
"It's kind of been surreal for us," he said. "It's just a blessing all the way around."