According to Lewis Howard, the realisation of his impending good fortune started with an itchy hand. The retired HVAC technician was sat in bed waiting for the Mega Millions draw to come on TV when his hand started itching – a sure sign, he said, that some money was coming his way.
That evening on May 17th 2013, Howard’s life was about to change forever. He had spent some pocket change on Mega Millions tickets for the draw but one set of numbers – 11, 15, 35, 43, 49 and the Mega Ball 41 – were about to make him a fortune as they happened to be the Mega Millions winning numbers. Over the next few days he would discover that he shared the jackpot with another ticket holder, Giuseppe Garofalo in New Jersey.
But, unlike his co-winner, Howard elected to wait a few months before he came forward to collect his Mega Millions jackpot share.
Never one to rush into anything, Lewis Howard decided to sort out the future of his finances before actually collecting them. Like most other lottery winners, he had decided to take the lump sum and would end up with a staggering $73 million before tax from the Virginia Mega Millions Lottery.
Howard spent the months until October teaming up with financial advisors to secure everything but said that the amazing amount of money wasn’t going to change him. Howard left claiming his prize right until the last minute, almost two weeks before the deadline for claiming was up – his wife finally had to remind him that it needed to be picked up.
That means the Mega Millions winner from Virginia waited an astounding 5 and a half months, holding the winning ticket and telling hardly anyone except his wife. Even his children and grandchildren didn’t know that he was sitting on a share of the Mega Millions jackpot.
When asked about his plans for the future, Howard said that he was going to stay in Cumberland but that he might just decide to take a cruise.
The ticket was bought at the Food Lion on South Main Street, Farmville, Virginia which was given a $50,000 bonus for selling the winning numbers. Howard was the seventh Mega Millions winner to come from Virginia and commented that his life had changed and that he was truly blessed. He remembered his reaction when he realised that he had the ticket with the winning Virginia Mega Millions numbers. “I thought ‘okay, so I have all six numbers. I really wasn’t that excited.’”
It may seem an unusual reaction for a man that has just won a share of the Mega Millions jackpot but lottery executive director Paula Otto said Howard should be commended for taking his time and assembling a good team of financial experts to help him with the win.
About the only other thing that is known about Lewis Howard is that he has two children, three grandchildren and likes reading and cooking. But one thing is for sure, with so much money in the bank, Howard won’t have to worry about his finances for a long, long while.