A 71-year-old handyman had just hung up his tool belt to officially retire. Then he got a big chunk of change to fund his next chapter.
Johnnie Taylor, the recently retired New York resident, just won the $476 million Mega Millions jackpot — the largest ever won in the state since the game began in 2002.
"It still doesn't feel real," Taylor said.
The former handyman opted for a lump sum payment of $157 million after taxes.
He picked up the winning ticket — with numbers 23-27-41-48-51 and Mega Ball 22 — at Liberty Beer and Convenience, which will get a $10,000 bonus for selling it. The store is a regular stop for Taylor, a Queens resident who uses the local subway station near the store.
Taylor is a regular player of Mega Millions and Powerball, but his wife still didn't believe him when he told her he had finally won the golden ticket. He said he had to go online to prove his numbers were the real deal.
Now Taylor is already planning how to best use his winnings to make the most of his retirement. Up next, he's planning to travel, buy a new home and replace his 2012 Prius with a new hybrid vehicle, the New York Lottery said. He's also planning to donate to his local church.
"The New York Lottery congratulates Mr. Taylor on winning this historic jackpot, the sales for which brought millions of dollars to New York's public schools and lottery retailers across the state," said Brian O’Dwyer, New York State Gaming Commission chairman.
The previous record jackpot for the state was won on a ticket sold in 2019 in Huntington, New York. The biggest Mega Millions jackpot ever was a $1.53 billion pot, won in South Carolina in 2018.
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com