A temporary construction job just made a New York man rich after he was handed the wrong lottery ticket at a North Carolina convenience store.
Jonathan Bate won $5 million — top prize in the $5 million Fortune game, according to the N.C. Education Lottery.
Bate, a construction supervisor, says the multimillion mix-up happened after he got off work Wednesday and went for coffee at the Maple Ave Family Fare on Maple Avenue in Burlington, lottery officials said in a release.
“The funny part about the ticket is, I got the wrong ticket!” he said in the release. “I asked for one and I got another and I just said, ‘Alright’.”
Bate wasted no time, choosing to sit in the parking lot and scratch off the $20 card. When all five numbers matched, he says the idea of winning $5 million didn’t sink in immediately.
The odds were 1 in 2,280,000, according to the lottery.
“I still can’t believe I won,” said Bate, who is from Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
He claimed his winnings the same day at the lottery office in Raleigh. Bate had to choose between getting a $250,000 annual check for 20 years or going with a lump sum of $3 million, officials said.
He went for the lump of cash, which came to $2,122,506 after state and federal taxes, officials said.
Bate didn’t say if he planned to continue working as a construction superintendent in North Carolina. But he did spell out a few spending priorities.
“A new truck and my granddaughter is going to go to college,” he said in the release.
The $5,000,000 Fortune game began in 2019 with three $5 million top prizes. Bate won the last of the three, officials said.