Freddie Hands and Ronald Edwards from Syracuse and their good buddy Douglas Tedford from Canastota played the Mega Millions lottery for 5 years before hitting the big time. Dubbed the Lucky Trio by the media, the three men worked together at the New Process Gear plant in Syracuse, New York State and, like many of us, never believed they would one day be New York Mega Millions winners.
It’s something you dream of, how you will spend all that money, but most of us don’t seriously think it is going to happen.
Freddie Hands was the one who bought the Mega Millions lottery tickets, always wondering if they would ever win the big prize. However following the June 22nd draw in 2010 they suddenly found they had a Mega Millions lotto jackpot of $26 million to brighten their day. His friend Ronald Edwards joked that they just wanted to win enough to do right by their families.
The three, who are in their forties and fifties, bagged the prize with the winning Mega Millions numbers 12, 17, 21, 23, 30 and Mega Ball 2.
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Unlike many Mega Millions lottery winners who opt to play quick picks or special birthday numbers, the three men chose sport jersey numbers from some of their favourite stars. 12 represented Dallas Cowboys player Roger Staubach, the Boston Celtics John Havlicek prompted the number 17. Dave Bing, Michael Jordan, Sam Jones and Terrell Davis all influenced the choice of their winning Mega Millions numbers.
Hands bought the winning ticket from the Boulevard Price Chopper in Syracuse just a couple of hours before the draw. Hands had been buying $5 worth of New York Mega Millions lottery tickets twice a week for the last few years and the Price Chopper was a regular port of call for him and he rarely missed a draw.
The three took away $3.7 million each from their Mega Millions lotto jackpot as they elected to settle for the lump sum payment. Hands checked the numbers as he was preparing to leave work for the day, first the paper and then online, just to make sure. He said, when he told Tedford that they were winners, the look on his friend’s face was priceless. Hands went home to celebrate the Mega Millions lotto jackpot but Tedford spread the good news to his co-worker Edwards when the man came in at 3pm for his shift.
As you might expect, the three new Mega Millions lotto jackpot winners had differing views on what they were going to do with the money. Hands was going to buy his wife a brand new car, Edwards wanted to go back to college to finish his degree and Tedford was planning to put some money by for his kids education.
But the three men aren’t the only winners. The Price Chopper that sold the ticket containing the winning New York Mega Millions numbers got a hefty bonus for its troubles and state education has benefited considerably from the lottery – raising in excess of $40 billion since it was first started 40 years ago.
There’s no doubt that there are three very happy men in Syracuse who never seriously thought they would win big on the Mega Millions lottery but always dreamed that it would happen one day.