There’s a millionaire living in Gloucester County. Well, he’s a millionaire now. Last week, he was just an ordinary Hampton Roads resident.

Fifty-three-year-old John May walked into a Gloucester Rite Aid and walked out a millionaire.

After the Rite Aid cashier said, “Have a nice day,” and May walked away from the cashier’s counter with his $10 piece of paper, he stood at a counter and began to scratch the little golden stars off the ticket’s face as he had done countless times before.

But this time was different. This time, the numbers matched up.

May quickly discovered his unprecedented fate. At 53 years old, he was now a millionaire. 

May’s particular lottery ticket of choice (and of fortunate choice!) that day was a High Rollers Club scratcher — a $10 black rectangle card that comes with the promise of anywhere from $10 to $1,000,000, and a brief second’s hope of truly believing that anything is possible. The fact that May played the lottery alone — that he even continued to buy those $10 pieces of paper — is a testament to a kind of optimism. It is an act of human faith and imagination. Not one person buys a lottery ticket who doesn’t truly believe, deep down in some part of them, that they might win. Maybe, against all odds, they’ll get “lucky.” 

John May did.

Those are steep odds, though. The odds of winning — and not just winning, but winning the $1,000,000 prize — are 1 in 1,101,600. The odds of getting in a car accident are 1 in 645. The odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 700,000.

When given the choice to take the full $1,000,000 over a 30-year period, or a cash option of $675,982 before taxes, May chose the cash amount (wouldn’t you?).

His advice? “Take a chance because you never know.” 

Americans spend $73.5 billion on lottery tickets every year.

What would you do if you won the lottery? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Your odds of contracting West Nile Virus are higher than they used to be. Read about it here.