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December 5, 2013

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December, 2013 | Winners Stories | Southern California

Simple Reason Man Waited Before Claiming Huge


Mega Millions® Prize on Ticket Sold in LA County

SACRAMENTO – Ask around and you will find lots of people who say they’d waste no time in claiming any Mega Millions prize, much less one worth nearly a half million dollars. So it might baffle one to know why Thomas Armstrong waited over a month to claim the ticket that won him $479,070 in the draw on October 25th.  “To be very honest, it was on my nightstand,” Armstrong said. “I just didn’t get around to having it checked until the other day.”

Yes, it’s that simple. Armstrong simply hadn’t grabbed the tiny slip and taken the time to see if he had won. Admit it. You’ve probably been guilty of that a time or two – left the ticket in the console of the car or stuffed in your purse. All’s well that ends well, right? For Armstrong, that appears to be the case. “One of the first things is pay off the equity loan on the house,” explained the 83-year-old retiree about what he plans to do with his winnings. “I’m looking forward to the day my daughter and granddaughter have it and there is nothing cumbersome to it.” The family may also consider a trip to Scotland.

The winning Mega Millions Quick Pick® ticket was purchased at Saddle Back Market, which is located at 17051 East Avenue in Palmdale (Los Angeles County). The ticket matched the numbers 45, 16, 60, 54 and 6, but missed the Mega number 15. He won an extra $2 because he did match the Mega number and another number on a separate play, bringing his total winnings to $479,072!

Armstrong admits he’d gone back to the store several times since purchasing his ticket. He walked right past the signage announcing the big win on a ticket sold there. He laughs at the idea the signs were practically staring him in the face, calling his name. “I wish it had called louder!” The signs served their purpose when the clerk pointed to one to explain to Armstrong exactly how much he had won. It was that simple. Armstrong had joined the winner’s circle – his picture (posted below) now featured among other Lottery players he’s read so much about. “I always thought, how lucky that person was. There’s just a chance that you’re gonna hit that thing,” Armstrong said he always felt happy for them. Now he says “I’m happy for myself too.” 

Winners have 180 days from the date of the draw to claim non-jackpot prizes. The California Lottery reminds winners to sign the back of their ticket, keep tickets in a safe place and contact Lottery officials or visit their local Lottery District Office as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the Mega Millions jackpot continues to grow and has soared to $291 million for tomorrow night’s draw.

Mega Millions is played in California (and 42 other states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Draw times are Tuesdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m. PST. Tickets are $1 and can be purchased from any of the more than 21,000 California Lottery retailers. Please visit the California Lottery’s Mega Millions site for more information on how to play. 

The mission of the California Lottery is to provide supplemental funding to California schools while simultaneously supporting local communities. More than 96 cents of every dollar spent by our players goes back to local communities in the form of contributions to public schools and colleges, prizes and retail compensation. The California Lottery urges its customers to play responsibly and within their budgets. If you feel you have a gambling problem, or know someone who does, you can get help at 1-800-GAMBLER.

thomas armstrong 400

See More Press Releases: December, 2013 | Winners Stories | Southern California