A North Carolina woman getting a head start on her Christmas shopping got a surprise she never expected when she scored a $1 million lottery prize.
Laura Keen of Winston-Salem was shopping for gifts with her boyfriend after Thanksgiving, traveling to different places to find the best deals, when she noticed that the fuel gage on their truck was indicating that it was low on gas, according to a release from the NC Education Lottery. When they stopped by the 7-Eleven on South Main Street in Kernersville to refuel and grab some coffee, Keen decided to also pick up a Millionaire Maker scratch-off lottery ticket.
As she scratched off the ticket back at the truck, she revealed that she won big, scoring a huge $1 million prize. Neither Keen nor her boyfriend could contain their excitement.
"I was screaming," she recalled. "He was screaming. We both were screaming. We were just in shock, just shock."
Keen claimed her prize at lottery headquarters on Monday (November 28), where she could choose to receive her prize as either an annuity of $50,000 per year over the course of 20 years or as a one time, lump sum payment of $600,000. In the end, she chose the latter, taking home a grand total of $426,069 after all required state and federal tax withholdings.
When asked what she plans to do with her new winnings, she told lottery officials she wants to be "smart" with how she uses the funds. She did, however, add that she would like to take a small vacation. In the end, she credits the truck's gas light for leading her to the massive win.
"We would never have won that if that gas light had not gone off," she said.