First Posted: 1/15/2009
LUMBERTON - A Robeson County commissioner overcame odds of almost a million to one to become the county's biggest instant winner in the N.C. Education Lottery.
Tom Taylor's $15 investment became $7,777 - before taxes. Taylor said it's rare that he plays the lottery, buying one or two tickets a month.
“We were sitting here at the (Bargain House) store eating lunch and a couple of the guys were talking about getting scratch-off tickets and I said, ‘Well, just bring me three of them,'” Taylor said. “I scratched it off on the first one and I didn't win anything. The second one, I won $17 and on the third one… the numbers just matched.”
According to the N.C. Education Lottery's Web site, the odds of winning the $7,777 jackpot are 960,000 to one.
“I've won $25 and $50, but nothing like I won this time,” Taylor said. “I couldn't believe it. … The guys here were saying, ‘You didn't win.' … It took me almost two hours to realize I'd won.”
Pam Walker, a spokesman for the N.C. Lottery, verified that Taylor's jackpot was the biggest for anyone playing the scratch-off game in Robeson County. The state has had a lottery since March 30.
The winning ticket was bought at Clyde's Grocery on Old Whiteville Road in Lumberton.
“We've had a right good many winners, but nothing of this magnitude,” said Carolyn Mishue, a clerk at the store. “It's very exciting to see one sold here in Robeson County.”
Taylor has to drive to either Raleigh or Wilmington to pick up the payout.
“I'll probably just pay some bills with it,” Taylor said. “I'm going to give my mama some and give some to these boys at the store. …You sit here and think about what you would do if you won, and then when you win, you do the opposite.”
Taylor isn't the county's biggest lottery winner, however. According to the lottery Web site, Geraldine Schroder of Pembroke won $30,000 from a Powerball drawing on June 24. She purchased the $2 ticket from the Cigarettes and Magazines Stand in Lumberton. Schroder could not be reached this morning.