On Saturday, Howard stopped at the Circle K on South Saunders Street in Raleigh and purchased a few lottery tickets, including his lucky $10 Red Hot Riches ticket. “I usually don’t buy this ticket that often,” said Howard. “But Saturday evening I said I’d get one and it just happened to be the right one.”
The following morning, Howard took his tickets out to the front porch. “I said I’d scratch my tickets off before I get to grilling and see what I got,” he said.
Once Howard started scratching his winning ticket, more and more “flame” symbols started revealing themselves.
“I saw three to start with and said, ‘Well at least I got my money back,’” he recalled. “And then I kept going and kept seeing more little symbols, and when I got to ten of them, I hadn’t even looked at the ledger to see what ten of them amounted to for the prize! I counted them again to make sure I had won $1 million.”
Howard claimed his prize Monday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. He had the choice of taking the $1 million as an annuity of 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a lump sum of $600,000. Howard chose the lump sum and after required state and federal tax withholdings he took home $424,503.
“I’ve always had a dream of winning something like this,” said Howard. “Knowing that I can buy my wife a new home and just help some family members and some other people in need, Thank the Lord.”
Howard, a forklift driver for 46 years, says his big win won’t change his work ethic. “I could retire if I wanted to but I’m going to keep working because I enjoy what I’m doing,” he said.
Red Hot Riches launched in May with four top prizes of $1 million. One top prize remains to be won.