Number 13 pays off in a big way!
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Shahid Chaudhry, owner of The Brown Bag grocery store in Barnesville, and Amanda Titus, manager, hold an enlarged copy of the million dollar scratch-off ticket that was sold Monday.
"I am going to keep living the way I have been ... a normal life."
That was the reaction of 81-year-old Larry Becker of Barnesville, who scratched-off a $1 million dollar ticket in the state lottery, according to his friend, Deb Fegley, also of Barnesville.
Fegley said when she asked Becker if he would be buying a new car with his new windfall, he simply answered, "I like my car and don't need a new one."
The winning ticket was purchased from The Brown Bag grocery store and gas station in Barnesville Monday morning. Employee Liz Strollis of Mahanoy City, who sold Becker the $20 "Merry Millions" winning scratch-off, was excited for Becker, who she said he is always very nice and pleasant to everyone.
"He always makes you feel welcome," Fegley added in commenting about her friend's good fortune.
Shahid Chaudhry, store owner since June of 2010, said that Becker has been a faithful regular for many years and that he always enjoys his company.
"It is nice that someone in our local community won. Especially someone deserving, like Larry," Chaudhry said.
Number 13 turned out to be the lucky number Becker scratched off, matching another number 13 that was located on the bottom left of the ticket. The game offers five top prizes of $1 million and an additional $1.5 million in prizes ranging from $1,000 to $100,000.
The odds of winning one of the five million dollar prizes are one in 480,000.
Although Becker is a well-known regular at The Brown Bag, he's reluctant to talk to the media concerning his big win. Friends and acquaintances at The Brown Bag said that Becker retired from the HTL General Tobacco Company, once located in Mahanoy City and McAdoo.
One store regular, who pointed out that Becker is living on a fixed income, said he "definitely deserved to win." Another described Becker as a "hard core" gambler, who was known to play large amounts of scratch-off tickets.
Cliff Hadesty, Barnesville, who has been coming to the store since he was in 9th grade, admits winning his "fair share" but like every other lottery player, is still looking for that big payoff.
The Pennsylvania Lottery remains the only state lottery that designates all its proceeds to programs that benefit older residents.
Becker will receive $750,000 after the required 25 percent is taking out for taxes.
According to the PA State Lottery's website, the "Merry Millions" scratch-off game still has two $1 million, three $100 thousand, and eleven $2,500 winning tickets still to be claimed.
Amanda Titus, store manager of The Brown Bag, said she's surprised there hasn't been a noticable increase in the volume of people playing the lottery or buying scratch-off tickets at the store.
"I thought the big win would increase the sale of tickets," she said.
Titus also recalled that Becker, prior to his big win, would often remark, "How come there is never any winners from this store?"
"Now he can't say that," Titus said jokingly.