West Chazy David Fortune bought the lottery ticket at Kinney Drugs on Boynton Avenue in Plattsburgh and scratched it in a rush.
There was hope involved, but it had also become routine. Plus, the 53-year-old West Chazy Man had a one in 2.8 million chance in winning.
A week later he underwent another routine, sorting through old tickets to make sure he hadn’t missed a winner. Rush suddenly learned he had won $5,000,000.
Well, $3,309,000 to be precise, and which will be distributed in a lump sum, but the father of two grown children isn’t complaining.
“You always look to win the jackpot, but you never really think you are going to.”
New York State Lottery officials presented Fortune with a check Friday at the Kinney Drugs on Boynton Avenue in Plattsburgh. Fortune claimed the top prize on the $5,000,000 Cash! Scratch-off game on Aug. 20 at the Lottery’s Schenectady Customer Service Center.
He joked about his last name, saying as a child he was called “fortune cookie” and “fortune teller.”
He has actually won thousands over the years playing the lottery, largely through scratch tickets. He once won $1,000 in Vermont.
He only came to Kinney Drugs that day to buy laundry detergent.
He’s fortunate rechecking his discarded, scratched tickets in his car has become ritual.
“I do that a lot,” he said. “I comb through my losers for winners I missed.”
He rechecked this one while doing his laundry.
“I thought it was a losing ticket. I probably had 20 or 30 other losing tickets down there, and I check them before throwing them out.”
A New York State Lottery Spokeswoman said about two percent of prizes go unclaimed in any fiscal year. Last year the amount totaled $36 million.
The New York State Lottery is North America’s largest and most profitable lottery, contributing nearly $2.9 billion in fiscal year 2011-12 to support education in the state.
The Lottery contributed $17,245,554 in Lottery Aid to school districts through Clinton County during 2011-12.
Fortune said his winnings will enable him to retire early.
His initial thoughts about the money include donating to charity, helping locally and possibly getting a new vehicle.