ROCK HILL, SC — After years of playing the lottery at a local convenience store, Wylie Craig finally scratched his way to a winning ticket worth $125,000.
“Luck has nothing to do with it,” said Craig, 79, with a laugh.
The Rock Hill native has been playing the South Carolina Education Lottery scratch-off games ever since they started in 2002.
The chances of winning a grand prize in the Giant Jumbo Bucks Game is 1 in 495,000.
“It took that many chances to get it,” Craig joked. Five grand prizes currently remain for the $5 game.
“I’m a retired truck driver, and this is the best surprise I’ve had in a long time,” said Craig, who drove tractor-trailers for more than two decades before retiring in the late 1980s.
He said he has no specific plans for his winnings except to have a “good time” and is considering buying a new car. The former truck driver currently drives a Ford pickup.
While some lottery winners choose to remain anonymous, Craig decided to make his winnings public and even posed for a photo.
“I wanted to let people know the lottery does work around here.”
Last Friday, as usual, Craig went to the Springdale Market convenience store on Springdale Road and was shocked when he realized he had a special winning ticket. Craig had won twice in the past, but the amounts were for $500 each.
The store was awarded $1,250 for selling the winning ticket.
Craig’s daughter, Janice Stamm, 50, also of Rock Hill, was surprised when her father showed up to her home the same day and asked her if she could give him a lift to Columbia, where the lottery claims office is located.
“He pulled the ticket out and I looked at it and I looked at it again and I said, ‘Oh my goodness!’” Stamm said. “He was real calm.”
Stamm said her father wasn’t in any rush to cash in his winning ticket and waited until Monday to go to Columbia.
When the two returned to Rock Hill with his winnings deposited into a bank account, she said Craig decided to go home and take a nap.
Craig is a regular at the convenience store, which is owned by his younger brother, Max, and goes there on a daily basis to fill up his gas tank, eat some meals and meet with neighbors.
“They’ll get some coffee, sit around and read the paper and tell tales and play scratch-offs,” Stamm said. “He’s been faithfully playing.”
Craig is the sixth child in a family of 16 children and grew up on his family’s farm. He has two sons and two daughters, three of which live in Rock Hill.
“One minute you’re broke and the next minute you’ve got a fortune,” he said.
Jie Jenny Zou 803-329-4062