Train delay makes Midlands woman instant millionaire

By Brandi Cummings - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - An Orangeburg woman's trip home stalled when she spotted an approaching train.  She pulled over at a convenience store to wait for the train to pass. Bored, she went inside the Quick Store where an orange Carolina Millionaires Club instant ticket caught her eye.

Hiren Patel was working that day, and says the woman bought four tickets in all. With each win, she'd turn the cash in for a ticket. The last one was the million-dollar jackpot. "[The woman] go outside, scratch and run away," recounted Patel. "Come inside and say, 'I win one million dollar!" Yes. It's not believe."

The train delay helped make her a millionaire. "If it wasn't for that train, I would have headed straight home," she said.

The winner, who prefers to remain anonymous, admitted she didn't know exactly what she was going to do with $1 million.  She's considering buying a new car or a house with her winnings.

"I'm trying not to let this overwhelm me," the millionaire told lottery officials when she claimed the prize in Columbia yesterday.  "I'm so happy."

Joanetta Albert stops by the store on Charleston Highway twice a week to play, but the most she's won is $500 bucks. "I would like to hit the millions," Albert said.

"I can't believe somebody won at this Citgo," said convenience store regular Jan Williams. "When I played the game the other night, I was hoping it would be me and I can't believe she won."

The $10 Carolina Millionaires Club instant ticket went on sale January 4. The Orangeburg woman is the first $1 million winner to come forward.  Four more $1 million top prizes remain in the game.  The odds of winning a $1 million top prize are 1 in 1,200,000.

Every retailer that sells a claimed ticket of $10,000 or more earns a 1 percent retailer commission, capped at $50,000. Quick Store in Orangeburg received $10,000.

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