North Carolina Education Lottery – Two lucky tickets, one worth $10,000 and the other worth $1 million, sat 22 miles apart Sunday night, and in an ‘astonishing’ bit of luck, Michelle Shuffler of Granite Falls found them both.
Shuffler found the first ticket, when she and her husband stopped at the Cubbard Express on Beecher Anderson Road in Lenoir. “We don’t normally play the lottery,” Shuffler said. “My husband just happened to have some cash in his pocket. At the last second, he decided to buy a ticket.”
When Shuffler scratched the Million Dollar Fever ticket, she saw that it was worth $10,000. “I was in complete disbelief,” Shuffler said. “I still am.” Later that night, as Shuffler and her husband talked about what happened, they decided to get another scratch-off ticket.
“We saw that the game had a million dollar prize,” Shuffler said. “So we decided, ‘Why not try to beat the odds again?’”
This time they stopped at the Murphy Express on Hickory Boulevard in Granite Falls. When she scratched the second Million Dollar Fever ticket, she realized she had in fact beat the odds and won $1 million.
“It’s quite astonishing,” Shuffler said. “It’s a miracle!”
Shuffler claimed both prizes Monday afternoon at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. For the $1 million prize, she had the choice of taking an annuity that has 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a lump sum of $600,000. She chose the annuity. She received her first payment of $50,000. After required state and federal tax withholdings, she took home $34,753. She will get an additional payment each year for the next 19 years. Shuffler plans to use the money to save for retirement and add to her children’s college funds.
Ticket sales from games like Million Dollar Fever make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $600 million a year for the state.