An Illinois high school custodian celebrated his 60th birthday by collecting a $2 million lottery jackpot. Photo courtesy of the Illinois Lottery
GURNEE, Ill., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A custodian at an Illinois high school celebrated his 60th birthday by visiting Illinois Lottery headquarters to collect his $2 million prize.
Gurnee resident Dave Martinez, a 34-year employee of New Trier High School, said he bought the Merry Millionaire scratch-off ticket on a whim Nov. 19 while purchasing a cup of hot chocolate from the Citgo gas station in Gurnee.
"The night before, I played there and I won $100, so I thought I'd go back and buy one the next day," Martinez told WLS-TV. "I went home and started scratching it off in my dining room, and then I just couldn't believe it."
Martinez said he initially thought he had won $100,000, but he soon realized he had actually won $100,000 per year for the next 20 years -- a total $2 million before taxes.
"I read the back and I was like 'Whoa.' I started jumping up and down with my wife, and then signed the back right away. I still can't believe it," Martinez said.
Martinez visited the Lottery Prize Center in Des Plaines two days later, his 60th birthday, to collect his winnings.
"I am going to pay my bills, make wise investments, and maybe take a vacation. I've always wanted to go to Hawaii, and now I can!" he told lottery officials.
Martinez said he plans to continue working at New Trier High School until he retires next fall.