$533 Million Jackpot Winner Bought Ticket with Last $20 in Pocket, Says it Was 'God's Plan'
Richard Wahl, a 47-year-old man from New Jersey, made a last minute decision to play the Mega Million Lottery on March 29, 2018. Based on a conversation with a co-worker, he decided to stop at a mini-mart he passed by every day to buy a lottery ticket and a Diet Coke.
He only had $22 in his wallet.
The next night, he went downstairs to watch the numbers get pulled. He joked with his wife beforehand that if she heard him screaming downstairs then she would know that he won.
As the numbers were being read and he saw the numbers on his ticket matching up, he started realizing that his dream of retiring (and a much-needed vacation) could come true. He didn’t end up screaming in fear of waking his family up, but instead just went to his wife’s side of the bed and whispered, “We’re going on a vacation.”
Wahl and his family ended up rereading the numbers about 15 times because the whole thing was so surreal! They are relatively new to New Jersey, moving to the state for a job opportunity in July of 2017. Winning the lottery definitely wasn’t in their plans.
They ended up canceling all of their Easter weekend plans because they didn’t feel comfortable leaving the house with the ticket or leaving it at home.
Wahl doesn’t attribute his win to luck, but he instead passes the credit to someone a little higher. Instead of picking the numbers himself, he opted for his numbers to be chosen automatically through Easy Pick.
“That’s why we believe this is God’s plan. He chose the numbers for us, He’s the one who made the decision … We ultimately believe God made the decision … for us to be able to do this … I’d say (we’re) lucky, but my wife and I don’t believe in luck,” he told reporters.
When asked what he planned to do with the money, Wahl said that he and his wife weren’t the kind of people who frivolously spend money and “party it up,” but they do have plans to help family and friends who are in need.
They have already hired a financial team to help them handle the money well. He said that he hopes to fulfill a lifelong dream of restoring a 1963 Corvette.
He also said that he planned on retiring early after making sure his company is in a good position for him to leave.
He was the only winner of this jackpot and because he decided to take the cash option, about half of the winnings will go to state and federal taxes. Even still, Wahl will end up with $220.7 million.
“For us, we believe God has a plan. So for us, the plan is to do a lot of good things with it,” Wahl said. “It’s not only life-changing money for me, but I want it to be life-changing money for others — family, friends, people in need. We’re going to do some good things with that.”
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