A Northern Californian invoked the "luck of the Jedi" on Tuesday when he came forward to claim the $425.3-million Powerball jackpot he won after playing the lottery for 20 years.
Wearing a shirt featuring the "Star Wars" character Yoda with the words "Luck of the Jedi I have," retiree B. Raymond Buxton came forward to officially claim his prize, telling officials he purposely chose April Fools' Day to turn in his ticket and take the one-time cash option.
His cash option will be worth about $242.2 million before taxes.
The Chevron where Buxton bought the winning ticket received a $1-million bonus for selling it.
"'Unbelievable!' is all I could muster,” Buxton said of the moment he learned he'd hit the jackpot. "I sat in front of the computer for hours in disbelief, frequently checking and rechecking the numbers across multiple sources. Once the initial shock passed, I couldn't sleep for days."
Buxton overcame gargantuan odds to match 17, 49, 54, 35, 1 and the Powerball number 34. Officials said the $425.3-million Powerball sum is the largest jackpot ever won in California and the sixth-largest in the nation.
Buxton told officials he was getting lunch at a Subway when he decided to buy a second ticket for the February draw.
Buxton had already purchased one Powerball ticket, but because the jackpot was so large, he decided to buy another, lottery officials said in a statement. He said he had been playing lottery games for 20 years.
At first, Buxton said, he did not tell anyone about his good fortune.
He studied the lottery winner's handbook and spent more than a week setting up legal and financial representation.
“Sitting on a ticket of this value was very scary,” he said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun