“Congratulations on your $105 million jackpot from Mega Millions!” (applause) Yolanda Vega, New York State Lottery
That’s how Yolanda Vega from the New York Lottery introduced Homer’s Wayne Harris at the Mirabito on Rt 281 in Preble.
Harris won the $105-million top prize in the September 22 Mega Millions drawing. “Initially I didn’t think that I won,” said Harris. “I was half asleep and then I thought about it a little bit and then I realized that I was….rich. (laughs)”
Harris kept it quiet, telling just his dad, Roger. “I didn’t tell anybody about it because it’s a small town, so (laughs) I would have had probably a lot of people coming around and asking me for money.”
Samantha Hooper sold Harris the winning ticket. “I just remember coming in the next day and finding out that somebody had won it here, and then a few days later I found out that I am the one that sold it,” said Hooper.
For selling the winning ticket, the store will receive a $10,000 prize from the Lottery.
Wayne Harris is 58, not married, and kind of quiet.
That was a challenge for Yolanda Vega as she tried to learn what he might do with the money. He had just purchased a car a few weeks back. He would likely take a break from work and is considering a “snow bird” trip to someplace warm during the winter.
“But I said what fun, fun, fun thing do you want to do for you?” said Vega. “He says, well if I wanna reach really deep I’ve always wanted to own a plane and get flying lessons – and I got that out of him.”
Harris owned up to the bucket list item when talking with reporters. “I always thought I wanted to take flying lessons, I always thought I would like to fly, so, I thought about maybe buying an airplane.”
After taxes, Harris’ lump sum payout is just under $44-million dollars. He says he’ll keep playing.
The New York Lottery says $11.1 million in Lottery Aid to Education was provided to school districts in Cortland County during fiscal year 2016-2017.
The Mega Millions game changes after Friday night’s drawing. Any tickets you buy beginning Saturday will be $2, not $1. The State says players should expect to see bigger average jackpots and faster rollups, too.