(MCT) — FLANAGAN — Bob Baker thought he had enough change to buy a Powerball lottery ticket last Wednesday at Bart’s Supermarket while on his regular rounds as a meat inspector.
“He had two quarters, four dimes and two nickels,” said store manager Rockey Patel.
When Patel told him the tickets were $2 each, Baker started to walk away.
That’s when Patel made a million-dollar decision. “I threw in a dollar and said I’ll get the other half,” Patel said.
Baker took the printed ticket and walked out the door.
At 6 a.m. the next day, the news broke that a ticket sold from his store matched five of the six winning numbers and was in line for a $1 million prize.
Two hours later, Patel and Baker independently checked the numbers on the ticket they shared. The long-time friends called each other almost simultaneously.
“I said, ‘Don’t lose that ticket, it’s a winner,” Patel said.
They will be presented Thursday with an oversized $1 million check to represent the cash prize.
“I’m thrilled,” Patel told The Pantagraph Wednesday. “But I couldn’t tell anybody right off the bat. I even had media calling and I couldn’t tell them because of the security reasons. Then we had to get the paperwork completed.”
Patel, 38, will use his half of the prize to put his kids — a 9-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son — through college. He also plans to talk with a financial advisor, but doesn’t plan to quit the managerial job he has had for eight years.
His cousin is owner of the store.
“I’m not going to quit, because I love Flanagan and I love my job,” he said. “This is just a great community and I love it here.”
The store will receive $10,000 for selling the winning ticket.