BERLIN — Hardly anything is surprising related to the Powerball drawing that had soared to an astounding $1.5 billion by Wednesday afternoon, but the story of a Berlin man and his family winning a $1 million share last weekend is certainly one for the books.
The 51-year-old Berlin man, who has preferred to remain anonymous, came forward to claim his $1 million second-tier Powerball prize on Wednesday as the overall record lottery jackpot continued to climb. As it turns out, a couple of overpriced limes led the local winner and his family to the $1 million ticket.
The father of four had already purchased one Powerball ticket in Delaware in advance of last Saturday’s record drawing, but a rather innocuous grocery errand ultimately put the winning $1 million ticket in his pocket. The unnamed winner needed just two limes, but passed up a chance to buy them at one store because he thought they were too expensive.
Instead, the Berlin man went to the Food Lion on Old Ocean City Boulevard to purchase the fruit. While his significant other waited in their vehicle, the Berlin man went into the Food Lion to grab the limes and at the last minute decided to pick up an extra Powerball ticket.
That night, the longtime couple watched the NFL playoffs together on television until the woman decided to give up on the late-running game and go to sleep. The local man finished watching the game and remembered his Powerball tickets.
“I checked my numbers, unfortunately, because I didn’t sleep well,” the unnamed local winner told Maryland Lottery officials this week. Instead, he paced through the house thinking about his $1 million prize and the difference it would make in his family’s lives.
“I was numb,” he said.
As the hours passed, he kept his amazing secret to himself and tried to remain quiet. By 4:30 a.m., however, he could no longer contain himself and woke up his significant other. First, he told her no one had won the record Powerball jackpot. Then he let her know the good news.
“We still won a million,” he told her, and then sleep was out of the question for both of them.
The local winner signed the ticket and placed it in a safe until he could claim his prize at Maryland Lottery headquarters in Baltimore. An employee in the HVAC field, the local winner plans to pay off his children’s college loans and the couple’s debt before deciding how to enjoy whatever is left. Incidentally, the local winner had already purchased tickets for Wednesday’s drawing, which had reached $1.5 billion.
The local man was one of only 28 second-tier Powerball winners across the country after the drawing last Saturday and the only one in Maryland. Two of the 28 second-tier winners added the Power Play option to increase their prize to $2 million. Three Marylanders exercised the Power Play option and tripled their $50,000 third-tier prizes to $150,000, while seven more state residents won $50,000 third-tier prizes. While the local man is collecting his $1 million prize, the Food Lion in Berlin is also getting a modest windfall. The grocery store will receive a $2,500 bonus from the Maryland Lottery for selling the winning ticket.
The Berlin man’s $1 million ticket continues a lucky streak for locals in the lottery. In September, an Ocean Pines man won $1 million on a scratch-off ticket purchased at Southside Deli. In November 2014, a West Ocean City man collected a $1 million prize with a Maryland Lottery Monopoly Millionaire’s Club ticket purchased at the Greene Turtle in West Ocean City.