Spending some of the last money he had, Dennis Mahurin, 59, a homeless man living in a tent in Bloomington, Ill., won $50,000 on a $3 scratch-off.
“Dennis was standing right in front of me when he was turning in his ticket,” said Pastor Greg Davis of Church of DeKalb in Illinois. “I was standing behind him and he asked, well did I win anything? The lady who was working there, her eyes were as big as saucers. She goes you won $50,000. Dennis looked dumbfounded. He didn’t say anything and then he asked, are you sure and she said yes I am sure.”
Davis had been passing through the area, on his way to a youth conference when he stopped at the Circle K gas station, located at 1903 West Market Street in Bloomington, Ill.
“The one clerked was smiling from ear to ear and the other clerk was smiling also when everyone starting realizing what was happening to him,” Davis said. “The funny part about this was that he was so shocked, he was just standing there going “wow” and saying “Oh my gee”.”
The manager of the gas station, Sandra Rankin, has been working at the Circle K for seven years. She told ABC News that the station has never had someone win such a large amount before.
“It’s quite exciting, when I got the phone call I was jumping up and down and mostly it was because of who it went to,” said Rankin. “He has been coming out ever since I started here. He is a great guy, has an awesome sense of humor. I care deeply for him and he is a very decent gentleman. He comes into my store three to four times a day.”
Illinois State Lottery spokesman Mike Lang told ABC News that Mahurin had been driven by a friend’s sister to the Illinois State Lottery in Springfield, Ill., to turn in his winning ticket. “He sounded pretty upbeat,” said Lang. “He told me he was going to buy a trailer home.”
Lang says Mahurin will receive a check for $35,000 after taxes in about three to four weeks. “We verify the win, we do not write the actual check. We process the ticket and confirm it is a winner and we send it to the comptroller.” The check will then be sent to Mahurin’s friend’s mother’s house, since he does not have an address.
Mahurin has previously won two $1,000 tickets. “One of them was at my store. It was on a $3 crossword,” said Rankin . “He wants to go visit his sons who are out of state and his grandkids who he has not seen in quite some time.”
“I normally discourage the lottery as a general rule, because often times the people can’t afford it and it can hurt them the most. In this particular case I guess he likes the scratch off and it particularly helped him,” said Davis. “I said to him the lord will bless you and he turned around and smiled and said oh he really, really has.”