'Still in some shock': North Carolina COVID-19 nurse wins $1 million second-chance lottery drawing
When a North Carolina nurse received a phone call saying she'd won the lottery, she thought she was being scammed.
Terri Watkins, who told the North Carolina Education Lottery she works in the "COVID unit at a long-term care facility," won a $1 million second-chance drawing. In a press release, the lottery said winners receive calls or emails informing them of their winnings.
"You're telling a story," Watkins said in a phone conversation with the NC Education Lottery representative who told her she won. "I don't believe you."
She's still having some trouble accepting her luck.
“I thought that it was not real, couldn’t be real. It’s still something that I really don’t believe, I’m still in some shock here,” she told the lottery.
Watkins was chosen from more than 513,000 entrants in the state's "Supreme Riches" second-chance drawing, the North Carolina education lottery said in a press release. It was the fourth and final second-chance drawing for the scratch-off.
A second-chance drawing offers extra chances to win for people who buy certain tickets, according to the lottery's website.
“Just seeing some of the things that I’ve had to see, I am very thankful," Watkins told the lottery. "I had been praying for something to help me with this situation. It really is a great thing. I’m very blessed.”
The Durham, North Carolina, woman had two options for her winnings: She could take a $1 million prize paid in annual installments of $50,000, or a one-time payment of $600,000. She opted for the one-time payment and took home $424,500 after taxes, the lottery reported.
Watkins told the lottery she planned to take her time figuring out what she'd do with her winnings.
“I would love a new home, but I’ve just got to take time and put it in the right place,” she said, according to the lottery.
The North Carolina Education Lottery contributed more than $709 million to education programs across the state during the 2018-2019 school year, according to the lottery's website.
Nationwide, Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots have increased to $640 million and $750 million, respectively. Both are among the largest prizes in U.S. lottery history, though still a ways off from the $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot split by three winners in 2016.
Contributing: Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY