Joseph K. Heaton of Haymarket, Virginia, was on his way home from work when he decided to make one of his usual stops for lottery tickets at the Sudley Shell Station in Manassas.
After going through two or three scratch-offs without much luck, he joked with the store owner, asking, "Are you keeping all the winning tickets behind the counter?”
Little did Heaton know that the winning ticket was closer than he realized. A lot closer.
After scratching off his final Virginia Lottery Extreme Millions ticket, he saw he was holding a winning ticket of $10 million.
Once he discovered his fortune, he took a humble trip back home.
“I just went to Walmart and went out and had dinner and then went home,” Heaton said at a press event Friday. His celebratory dinner of choice was Chick-Fil-A.
The first person he told was his accountant. He opted to receive the cash prize all at once, rather than over a 30-year time span.
Before taxes, Heaton will take home about $6.57 million dollars, the Virginia Lottery said.
The Virginia Lottery raises money toward K-12 education. Last year, they raised $650 million. Over the past 30 years, they donated over $2 billion, according to Frank Wagner, deputy director of the Virginia Lottery.
Wagner presented a donation of $50,000 to the Sudley Shell Station owner.
As for Heaton’s next steps, the new millionaire said he does not intend to change his lifestyle much.
“I drive a pickup truck, and no I don’t intend on buying any new vehicles in the future,” he said.
He said he will continue to work until he is ready to retire.
For people who may be skeptical about their chances of winning the lottery, Heaton had some simple advice: “You can’t win if you don’t play.”