A Brooklyn, New York-based truck driver who was sick and dragged himself out of bed to go to work on the day he bought a lottery ticket came forward as the sole winner of the near $300 million Powerball jackpot.
Dave Johnson, who hails from Jamaica, said he was sick for days but went back to work the Wednesday after Christmas, in order to get paid and it was during his morning routine that he decided to play Powerball.
“I dragged myself to go to work,” Johnson said, adding he went to the same gas station he goes to every morning to fill his truck up across the street from his job. Then, with the $5 he had in his pocket, Johnson played Powerball.
Johnson was so sick he didn’t watch the drawing the night he bought the ticket, nor did he go to work the following day.
No idea that he was the lucky winner, a coworker told Johnson the winning ticket was bought at the gas station he frequented. But, Johson didn’t think he was the winner.
A couple days after the drawing, Johnson headed to the gas station to check his ticket.
“I jumped up and down in the store,” he said of the moment he found out. Realizing he held the winning ticket was all he needed to quit his job “right away, no delay.”
“I went, got back in my car, I turned my music up and zoomed on home,” he said, adding that he then told his family, “I’m rich! I’m rich! I’m not going to work anymore.”‘
Johnson said he didn’t claim the ticket Jan. 2, 2019, hiding the ticket in a jacket until he turned it in, thinking if robbers entered his house, they would go for the “good stuff” and not his jacket.
Johnson decided to take the cash lump sum totaling $180 million, which comes to around $114 million after taxes.
Though Johnson doesn’t plan to leave New York City, he said he plans on investing and, then, buying a red Porsche.
The jackpot ticket, which matched all five numbers plus the Powerball in last month’s drawing, was sold in Brooklyn, at Arnold Service Station on Linden Boulevard. The winner, whose identity has not yet been revealed, gets to choose between the $298.3 million annuity option or $180.2 million cash.
It’s been a good few months for New York lotto players. On the first day of 2019, someone hit the $425 million Mega Millions jackpot; that ticket was also sold in New York, at Brookville Auto Service Shop on Long Island. There was only one winner in that case as well; that person has yet to come forward.
In November, a 67-year-old Manhattan retiree named Robert Bailey claimed his share of the $687.8 million jackpot from an Oct. 27 drawing. That ticket was sold at the West Harlem Deli; it was the fourth-largest lottery prize in U.S. history and the largest prize in New York state history.
Prior to that, in August, a $245.6 million Powerball ticket was sold on Staten Island; in May, a $315 million Powerball ticket was sold in Little Ferry, New Jersey; and in March, someone hit the $533 million Mega in Vernon, New Jersey.
Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C., the U.S Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.