Danny Sims of Ellenboro said he just froze after a $5 scratch-off ticket turned into a $250,000 lottery prize.

“It took me a while to realize I actually won something after the shock wore off,” Sims said. “I was so excited I had tears in my eyes.”

Sims said at first he thought he won $25 but then he realized what he actually won.

“I just froze and thought, ‘Oh my God,’” Sims said. “I thought it couldn’t be real. It was so hard to believe.”

Sims, 43, said that when he told the rest of his family what he won they didn’t believe him.

“We are pranksters,” Sims said. “We are always pranking each other so they thought I was just messing with them.”

Sims bought his lucky 20X The Cash ticket from the Key Largo Food Mart on U.S. 221A in Mooresboro. He arrived at lottery headquarters on Tuesday to collect his prize and, after federal and state tax withholdings, took home $177,526.

Sims said he wants to use the money to pay some bills and help pay for his stepdad’s house.

Ticket sales from scratch-off games make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $900 million per year for education. For details on how $18 million raised by the lottery made a difference in Rutherford County in 2020, visit www.nclottery.com and click on the “Impact” section.