Gurnee Man Has 2 Million Reasons to Celebrate His Birthday
I remember when my dad turned 60 years old. I asked him how it felt to be that age, and he pointed out that it didn't really matter to him what the number was, he was just happy to keep having birthdays (he got 24 more). He also said that after turning 40, the time between birthdays seemed to shorten from a year to about 6 months.
Well, if you got a present like Gurnee resident Dave Martinez, a 34-year employee of New Trier High School got, every six months you'd have to get your photo taken while you held a giant check. Dave just got one for two million dollars.
Dave Martinez said he bought the Merry Millionaire scratch-off ticket on a whim Nov. 19 while purchasing a cup of hot chocolate from the Citgo gas station in Gurnee. "The night before, I played there and I won $100, so I thought I'd go back and buy one the next day," Martinez told WLS-TV. "I went home and started scratching it off in my dining room, and then I just couldn't believe it."
Martinez said he initially thought he had won $100,000, but he soon realized he had actually won $100,000 per year for the next 20 years -- a total $2 million before taxes.
"I read the back and I was like 'Whoa.' I started jumping up and down with my wife, and then signed the back right away. I still can't believe it," Martinez said.
Dave and his wife jumped in the car a couple of days later and headed to Des Plaines (home of the lottery prize center) to collect his prize money, which was fitting, since that day was Dave's 60th birthday.
So, what's he going to do with his new windfall?
"I am going to pay my bills, make wise investments, and maybe take a vacation. I've always wanted to go to Hawaii, and now I can!" he told lottery officials.
Dave plans to work at New Trier until his retirement next fall. Somehow, I don't think he's going to get all worked up over any performance reviews between now and then. I wouldn't.
By the way, Dave is not the only person who's gotten really lucky with the lottery:
However, there are pitfalls that await some winners: