The U.S. Postal Service employee who purchased a winning lottery ticket that brought his coworkers a $1 million windfall said he has now been nicknamed “the lucky one.”
“That’s what they call me,” Steven West told ABC News.
West, of St. Louis, Missouri, has been tasked for the past five months with buying lottery tickets for a weekly pool with seven of his coworkers. Each coworker contributes $10 each week for the tickets.
On Dec. 19, West purchased the winning Powerball Match 5 ticket at a local QuickTrip convenience store.
“That morning I was not going to play there because we hadn’t been doing any good there,” West said of that specific QuickTrip store. “But I was running errands and when I left for work, I passed up both of the stores closer to me and just happened to pass by and said, ‘Well, I might as well play there,’ and I stopped and played.”
West said he got home late from work that night and waited until the next morning to check the $20 worth of lottery tickets he’d purchased.
“I’m circling the numbers as I go and I didn’t notice until I got to the end and said, ‘Wait a minute, that’s five numbers,’” West recalled. “I’m looking at the computer and looking at the tickets.”
West then called one of his coworkers to have him double check the winning ticket.
“I said, ‘I need you to confirm something for me. Just do what I say. Go online and confirm these numbers for me,’” West said. “He called out the numbers for me and I kept saying yes.”
“I said, ‘We just won one million dollars,’ and he went crazy and his wife was hollering at him,” West said.
The eight Postal Service employees will each take home $125,000 before taxes, the Missouri Lottery announced in a news release Tuesday.
“My plans are to pay off my two bills, one for my car and a loan that I took out for my daughter to go to college,” West said.
All eight members of the group showed up for work the day they found out about the win, and each has continued to work since, according to West.
“It’s not enough [money] to do anything crazy and I think we all understand that,” he said.
The $1 million win was especially surprising, and exciting, for the group considering their biggest win to date had been much, much less.
“Prior to this we’ve been in the single digits,” West said. “I think the most we’ve ever one was probably $12.”