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Cigarette run led to $200K winning lottery ticket in York

The urge to smoke helped a York man win $200,000 in the S.C. Education Lottery.

Eddie Mustin, 47, had left work at a Gaffney power plant Thursday morning, and after he stopped at his home near York he decided to go out for a pack of cigarettes.

He stopped at the Petro Express on Liberty Street, the only gas station open at 3 a.m. in York, he said.

He also bought a $10 Big Dollar Double scratch-off ticket.

"I stood outside the door, scratched the first one and won $10," he said. "I thought, 'That's cool.' Then I scratched the second one and couldn't believe it."

The number $200,000 was staring back at him - Mustin had just won $200,000.

"I kept wanting to make sure the numbers matched and it was 200,000," he said. "I couldn't convince myself it was it."

He ran back inside and had the clerk look it over to make sure he was seeing things correctly. He had, and the clerk began screaming with happiness.

All the way home, Mustin, who has 20 years' experience in the U.S. Navy, still couldn't believe it.

His wife, Carrie, 43, was still asleep, so he woke her up. Shaking and nervous, he told her she needed to sit down because he had something to tell her.

"She kept asking, 'What's wrong?' knowing I had come from work," he said. "The first words were: 'Oh my God, did you get fired?'"

Then he showed her the lottery ticket.

Carrie Mustin's response was calm, and she began planning how they would use the money to pay off some debt.

With their $136,000 take-home, the Mustins paid off their bills, car payments and the mortgage, and put $40,000 in savings for a fall-back option.

"She's extremely frugal," Mustin said. "We have been getting rid of our debt slowly. My wife is still cutting coupons. She's the coupon queen of York County."

Carrie Mustin said she knows money doesn't create happiness and it isn't going to change who they are.

"Family and health means a lot more to me than the money does," she said.

"We won it, and that's wonderful. We'll be able to help the kids."

The Mustins have eight children, their own and from previous marriages - Michael, 29, Jennifer, 27, Nicholas, 23, Sarah, 21, Ben, 19, Rachel, 16, Paige, 14, and Eddie Jr., 2.

Their only splurge was a golf cart for their 2-year-old, who is autistic.

"He loves being outside, so we bought him a golf cart to ride around in the neighborhood," Eddie Mustin said. "He just loves it."

Carrie Mustin said their son loves to hit the horn and say, 'Beep-beep' on the golf cart.

"It still hasn't hit me," she said. "I'm sure it will down the road. I'd rather give it to my kids. ... Everybody's happy. If they're happy, I'm content."

Eddie Mustin joked that sometimes his wife fusses at him about buying lottery tickets - but she's giving him a break on this one.

He said he believes buying the ticket was fate.

"I sit and think about it to this day," he said. "What if I hadn't left work early? What if I would have left work an hour later?

"It just had to be fate."