Jan. 7, 2014 – Ever get the feeling you’ve forgotten something important? Had that nagging question “what was it?” at the back of your mind all day? That’s the feeling that woke Steve Tran at 3 a.m. last Monday; he’d forgotten to check his Mega Millions tickets.
For many players, forgetting to check tickets is a weekly experience, certainly not one that yanks any regular player from early-morning sleep. But Tran had been hearing reports all week that California’s winner had yet to come forward.
The delivery driver also heard reports that California’s winning Mega Millions ticket was sold in a gift shop in San Jose. What he kept forgetting, however, was that he was in San Jose the day of the drawing – he bought his tickets in that gift shop.
Early Monday morning it clicked. When he woke in the middle of the night, he “remembered: I think I went to San Jose,” he told Lottery officials.
He rushed to check his ticket, which was sitting out in a pile along with tickets he’d bought while making deliveries, and there it was: six numbers, $324 million.
Tran’s half of the $648 million jackpot, which he and a woman from Georgia split down the middle, carries a lump-sum cash option worth $173.8 million before federal taxes.
That’s enough money to live any lottery player’s dream, and Tran told California Lottery officials that he got started with his new life right away.
After telling his wife about the nine-figure windfall, Tran says he called into work to leave a message every lottery player dreams about: “I’m really sorry boss, I hit the jackpot, I don’t think I’m going to come in today, tomorrow, or ever.”