Man wakes family in middle of night with news of big lottery win. ‘My heart stopped’

A feeling came over a Maryland man when he saw a lottery vending machine at 7-Eleven, and that feeling led to him winning big, lottery officials said.

When Clarence Chatman, an auto mechanic manager who lives in Laurel, finished off the milk in his home, his wife asked him to go to the store to replace it, according to a Dec. 7 Maryland Lottery news release. He forgot to go until late at the night on Dec. 6, lottery officials said, so he packed up to go to the gas station to pick up a gallon.

He didn’t know he would leave the store much richer.

Before grabbing his milk, Chatman decided to grab some scratch-off tickets after spotting the lottery vending machine in the 7-Eleven, according to the release.

“A feeling came over me as I passed the machine,” Chatman said in the release.

First, he bought three $10 scratch-off tickets, winning $50 on one and $10 on another, lottery officials said. But Chatman didn’t leave it there.

“I felt good having doubled my money, but something said, ‘Get one more,’” Chatman told lottery officials with a smile.

A quick scan later, Chatman saw a number much bigger than doubling his mere $60 win on the other three tickets.

“My heart stopped,” Chatman said. “I figured $10,000, but it was $100,000!”

Sticking the $100,000 ticket in his back pocket, Chatman gifted his $60 win to the gas station cashier, lottery officials said. He was giddy with his win — so giddy he didn’t even grab the milk he came for in the first place.

Wanting to share the excitement with someone, Chatman called his wife to make sure she would be awake when he came back from his middle-of-the-night shopping trip, lottery officials said.

“Oh no,” Chatman’s wife Jeanne retold lottery officials about what she said to him on the phone. “I thought something bad happened.”

When he returned home, Chatman was shaking from how overjoyed he was, lottery officials said. He showed his wife his phone with the winning message, and then he woke up his son to tell him about the big win, according to the release.

So shocked by the news, the whole family couldn’t get much sleep and instead booked an appointment to claim the prize, lottery officials said. When they got to the Maryland Lottery headquarters, lottery officials said they came “a little delirious, but with huge grins.”

The winnings will go toward a family vacation, Chatman told lottery officials, as well as to pay off bills.

Laurel is about 20 miles southwest of Baltimore.

Many people can gamble or play games of chance without harm. However, for some, gambling is an addiction that can ruin lives and families.

If you or a loved one shows signs of gambling addiction, you can seek help by calling the national gambling hotline at 1-800-522-4700 or visiting the National Council on Problem Gambling website.

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