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A couple from San Diego County in California have started the New Year off with a bang after they claimed a Mega Millions prize worth $1.3 million.

Vanna Jennings and Jesus Vasquez, from Julian in San Diego County, won their Mega Millions prize just a few days before Christmas after buying their usual tickets for the multi-state lottery. “The girl in the store jokes ‘this one’s the winner!’” Ms Jennings told California Lottery officials, and the store clerk was right. Recently a San Diego Fantasy 5 winner won $500,000 on his birthday, while a Powerball win came to a San Diego local after a last-minute stop on the way home from a comic book store.

One of their five Quick Pick tickets matched numbers 30, 33, 42, 1 and 20 missing only the Mega Number of 16 which would have earned them the jackpot, worth $253 million on that drawing night in particular. Instead, their five numbers won them a second tier Mega Millions prize worth $1,298,334. “We’re going to start 2018 in a good way,” said Ms Jennings, explaining that they’ve recently experienced some difficult challenges, and so their big win certainly brought them some good news. A lottery player from southern England was delighted to win £1.9 million on the UK Lotto after years of scrimping and saving, and then gave back to society.

“It’s so unbelievable, we’re numb to it actually,” said the Mega Millions winners, explaining that Mr Vasquez lost both his mother and father last year, just eight months apart. A Mega Millions winner from Michigan also described himself as “numb” after discovering his $1 million win.

The couple told California lottery officials that their $1.3 million is going to be saved up towards their retirement, “It is nice to have security,” said Ms Jennings. “That is wonderful, isn’t it?” A California Power 5 winner was planning retirement after winning $555,555.

The winning Mega Millions ticket was purchased from Julian Market and Deli on Main Street in Julian, San Diego County, and the retailer will receive a commission worth $6,491 from the California Lottery as a bonus for selling the winning ticket.

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