It happened by accident. One of the regulars, as store employees describe him, came into Dollar Subs at Elm St. and Stuyvesant Ave. on Friday, July 26, to buy a lottery ticket.
“He asked for a Powerball ticket,” said Aida Velez, who was working behind the counter. “By mistake, I punched out Mega Millions.”
“At first,” Velez said, “he said, ‘I don’t want the ticket.’ ’’ Velez said she offered to buy the ticket from him but her customer abruptly changed his mind and plunked down the cash for the Mega Millions ticket bearing the numbers 04, 22, 23, 27 and 38.
And that was that – until Monday, July 29, when a representative of the N.J. Lottery came into the shop and informed Velez and fellow employee Lisa Baez that the ticket for Friday’s Mega Millions $19 million jackpot drawing had been sold there.
And it turned out that the winning ticket had been purchased by the fellow who’d originally wanted the Powerball option.
A July 29 press release from the N.J. Lottery confirmed the report, adding: “This is the only jackpot winning ticket sold in the nation.” And, the release noted, “The retailer (Dollar Subs) will earn a $30,000 bonus for selling the winning jackpot ticket.”
Said Velez: “We’re very happy for him. I cannot believe it.”
Echoing her colleague’s sentiments, Baez added: “It’s a blessing for us and for that person. We are very happy for that person and wish him the best.”
While Velez, who has worked at Dollar Subs for the past five months, and Baez, now in her fourth week at the store, said that the lucky buyer lives in the neighborhood, they preferred not to give his name out of respect for his privacy.
The Lottery release said the state agency “has not yet been contacted by the ticket holder.” But Lottery spokeswoman Judith Drucker said last week that the agency has heard from an attorney making inquiries on behalf of the winner.
No indication, however, was given as to when the ticketholder might show up to claim his prize, Drucker said. Anyone who purchases a winning ticket has a year from the date of purchase to make that claim, she said.
N.J. Lottery Executive Director Carole Hedinger said this makes five New Jersey jackpot winning tickets sold this year. “We are thrilled to have another jackpot winner in New Jersey,” she said.
– Ron Leir