For Kenneth Crews, a retired Shelby fireman, his good deed of giving a friend a ride to work on a rainy Sunday led to a $4 million prize.
Crews, who retired after 32 years as a fireman, said he often gives a friend who doesn’t drive a ride to work. He said he usually turns down money for the ride, but because of the rainy weather his friend insisted he take $60 for the help.
“He said, ‘Please, put it on a scratch-off, you might hit something today,’” Crews recalled his friend saying.
On the way home, Crews stopped by the Southern Store on South Lafayette Street in Shelby, took his friend’s advice, and bought three $20 Ruby Red 7s tickets. He found no prize on one ticket, a $30 prize on a second, and $4 million on the third.
“Perfect timing and luck,” Crews said as he collected his prize at lottery headquarters on Monday. “Very exciting. I call it my three-year retirement payout. I retired three years ago.”
Crews had a choice of taking the prize as a 20-year annuity, getting $200,000 a year, or taking a lump sum of $2.4 million. He chose the lump sum and after state and federal withholdings took home $1,698,006.
He said he planned to use the money to build a new retirement home and help family members pay bills.
The Ruby Red 7s game started in January with four top prizes of $4 million. Two of those prizes remain to be claimed.
Ticket sales from scratch-off games make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $700 million a year for education. For details on how lottery funds have made a difference in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties, click on the “Impact” section of the lottery’s website, nclottery.com.