WEST BURLINGTON, Iowa — An Iowa man is the winner of a $1 million lottery payout from a ticket he says was a mistake.
Josh Buster, 40, who works as a prep chef at a Burlington restaurant, said he asked for five easy-pick plays for the Mega Millions drawing on Friday, but the convenience store clerk only printed one play, according to a press release from the Iowa Lottery.
“I feel like that changed the numbers that I would have gotten if he had put them all on one instead of making that mistake,” Buster said
He got up early Saturday and scanned the tickets he had stored in the console of his car using a lottery app. The clerk’s mistake made him $1 million richer.
“I scanned it in the car and freaked out and ran back inside,” he said. “I don’t usually have good luck, so I thought it was a mistake and there was going to be an error. So I Googled the lottery numbers to make sure I had the right ones, and I did! And then the rest of the day, I’m just waiting to wake up from a dream
The Mega Millions ticket matched the first five numbers of Friday’s drawing but missed the Mega Ball that would have gotten the winner a share of the $20 million jackpot.
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According to Mary Neubauer, vice president of external relations for the Iowa Lottery, five-number Mega Millions matches are one in about 12.6 million, while the chance of matching five Powerball numbers is one in about 11.7 million
“The person has up to 365 days from the date of the drawing,” Neubauer said. “Generally, with a prize of this size, it’s claimed a lot more quickly than that.”
Such was the case with Buster, who left the Clive office with his check just after 2 p.m. After taxes, he brought home $710,000.
He told the lottery he plans to pay off his car loan and mother’s mortgage with the winnings and save the rest for retirement.
“It will take away a lot of my stress in my life — no more of the financial worries,” he said.
Follow Michaele Niehaus on Twitter @NiehausMichaele.