HUNTER — When LaShawn Carter, of Troy, headed up the mountaintop in Greene County for a day trip to the waterfalls with his wife, Sarah, he couldn’t know it would change his life.
On the way up the mountain, Carter’s GPS went out. He took a wrong turn and ended up stopping at the Cumberland Farms store on Main Street in Hunter.
After loading up on snacks and beverages, Carter, on the spur of the moment, purchased a Gold Bar 7s scratch-off ticket, something he’s done many times in the past.
A couple of days later, Carter was at work and while on a break took out all the scratch-off tickets he had in his pocket. The Gold Bar 7s ticket from Hunter was the last one.
He scratched off the ticket and saw he had three matching symbols. He figured he would win $5 or $10, or maybe as much as $50.
He won $1 million.
“I almost passed out,” Carter said during a ceremony held Friday afternoon outside the Cumberland Farms shop in Hunter, where he purchased the winning ticket.
The first thing he did?
“I went to a co-worker and asked if they saw the same thing I was seeing,” he said.
Carter said he felt nervous, and happy and scared, all at the same time.
“LaShawn decided to receive his $1 million prize as a one-time lump sum payment, which means he will receive, after taxes, a net amount of $510,568,” said Yolanda Vega, a spokeswoman from New York Lottery.
Carter said he will use his windfall to buy a new car or truck, purchase a house and set up a college account for his kids.
“This is security,” Carter, 41, said. “Security for my kids.”
But the first order of business will be to take his wife on a birthday cruise to Bermuda.
Sarah Carter said her husband didn’t tell her of his win for a couple of days because he wanted to keep it a surprise for her upcoming birthday.
“But he couldn’t keep it a secret anymore,” Sarah said with a smile.
Carter is the 77th New York Lottery player to claim a prize totaling $1 million or more this year.