A 71-year-old Texan man who loves playing the Mega Millions lottery has come forward to claim a mammoth $177 million!
Eliberto Cantu of Lubbock came forward Monday to cash in his gigantic Mega Millions prize. It’s the biggest ever Mega Millions win sold in Arkansas.
The lucky Mega Millions jackpot winner travels from one construction job to the next, but it was thanks to a quick coffee break that he purchased his lucky usa lotto ticket. He bought the Mega Millions ticket on March 30 at All Stop Valero on East 22nd Street in Stuttgart. Little did he know that he had just bought his ticket to financial freedom and all his dreams would come true.
Cantu bought his ticket the day before the Mega Millions draw that took place on March 31. The lucky Mega Millions winner’s so, spoke on behalf of his father, and said that his dad usually spends about $6 a week and on occasion a bit more Mega Millions tickets, depending on the size of the draw. He also lets the computer pick his numbers.
The 71-year-old, who travels from one construction job to another, did however say in a brief interview after the news conference at the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery headquarters, "I thank the Lord, I don't have to work more."
Mr Cantu and his wife decided that they would opt for the lump-sum once off payment instead of the large annuity payment, which leaves them with a fantastic $72,901,274 lottery winning cheque to bank.
"This is the first winner I have met that really this is a generational change in their life," the lottery director said. "Their children are here. They are just an absolutely fun family."
Since the lottery started selling in September 2009, it’s the biggest Arkansas jackpot. The lotteries been helping fund more than 30,000 Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships during each of the past seven fiscal years.
The previous record holder in Arkansas, was Harold Bailey, from Conway, who won $25 million on the US Powerball lotto game in January 2010.
The winner’s son, Rodrigo Cantu, has a real estate company in Dallas, and said that his parents plan to do “a lot for the family.” We can’t blame them, as its exactly what every parent in the world would absolutely love to do. The Cantu’s have quite an extensive family, including seven children and a whopping 17 grandchildren and great-grandchildren! It’s just as well they have won $177 million.
The family aren't the only ones though that will enjoy some of the lucky couple's new found wealth, as the couple are also giving thanks and giving back to their church. Their son went on to say:
"But on top of that, they have been going to the same church [Bethel Baptist Church] for about 35 years and the church is going to be levelled and be rebuilt, and the sister church of that church is also going to be levelled and rebuilt, so they are going to spend quite a bit of it on building churches," he said. "The church just told the congregation who the anonymous people were [on Sunday]."
Rodrigo also said that the Mega Millions lottery win has come at a good time, as his father has worked in construction for about 50 years. He often travels from town to town through Texas and Oklahoma and sometimes in New Mexico and Arkansas.
"They travel around in their little travel trailers and they kind of go from job to job," he said.
At the time his father purchased the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket, he was working on a power-line project.
"They were here for about five weeks outside of Hazen, in those RV parks outside Hazen, and he goes to work at 6:30 in the morning and goes in at 7 ... and he just happened to stop" at One Stop Valero on East 22nd Street in Stuttgart, he said.
"His co-workers didn't want to stop. He convinced them to stop and get a coffee. So that's where he bought it," continued Rodrigo.
Rodrigo said that the morning after the Mega Millions draw, his father called him to ask him to double check his Mega Millions numbers, as the gas station was closed.
"My dad called me and told me he started checking his ticket at a gas station and it was blocked," he said. "So he called me ... he gave me the numbers ... and I checked the numbers ... and saw that they matched."
Rodrigo said that he immediately left and drove for five hours solid from Dallas to Arkansas.
"So I was here for a few days with them, trying to settle things out. They literally sold their travel trailer for $1 to one of their co-workers," he said.
"Then, my dad and I went back to that Valero Tuesday morning after the lottery and about the same time the same girl was there and so we talked to her," he said.
"She said they thought they knew pretty much who it was and my dad said, 'So, they're wrong, I bought it Thursday morning at 6:30,' Rodrigo Cantu said. "And she said, 'Oh, that's funny.' And he said, 'You're looking at the winner.' She didn't believe him, so I showed her a picture of the ticket. And she immediately started crying.
"We gave her a little bit of money. We laughed and came back and gave her a little bit more and she was very, very thankful," he said.
The asked the woman to please keep their identities a secret, and she lived up to her promise. It’s for this reason that the news media didn’t know who the winner was until Monday’s lottery announcement.
The Valero gas station will receive a $50,000 commission for selling the winning Mega Millions ticket.
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