FORT MILL -- On Sunday at Gate Petroleum on S.C. 160 near Gold Hill Road, a gray-haired, sturdily built guy in his mid-50s, clerk Josh Roberts estimates, handed over to the other clerk a $2 Powerball ticket he had bought for the drawing the night before.
The number 12 matched. Then 15 and 28 and 31 and 50 matched.
The guy, who Roberts said is a regular customer, thought he had won $200,000.
"You could tell he was happy," Roberts said. "But he hit the Powerplay. He got a million."
A million, from a $2 ticket.
"The guy didn't jump, but you could tell he as happy," Roberts said.
But the winner's identity remains a mystery. Roberts doesn't know the guy's name. The winner didn't authorize the S.C. Education Lottery to release his name. All lottery spokesman Ron Cohen would confirm is the guy is from North Carolina and he went to the Fort Mill claim center late Monday to claim his dough.
Come on, pal. Tell us who hold losing tickets -- I am as always among the losers -- who you are.
Give us hope. Or envy.
I'll only tell a couple hundred thousand people, promise.
I was in England last week when the biggest lottery winner in British history, a portly blonde Scottish postal clerk named Angie Kelly, won $35 million pounds. About $70 million. She was splashed all over every newspaper front page in the country, then the next day the separated mother of a teenage son went shopping with the British tabloids on her tail. She even didn't rule out giving the husband, who worked in the same post office and was still on speaking terms with her before the riches, some pocket money.
Two $1 million tickets were winners in South Carolina from Saturday's Powerball drawing that now has grown to a whopping $245 million jackpot. The other winner came forward Tuesday, a 34-year-old lady from Pendleton, said lottery spokeswoman Stephanie Summers Hemminghaus. The lady didn't want her name released either but she did tell lottery officials she would tithe her church 10 percent of the take.
At least God will know who she is.
An informal poll -- done by me asking strangers at the Gate store while I was there talking to Roberts and others -- concluded that almost everybody wouldn't want their name released. Relatives would come out of the woodwork, asking to hold $500 or five grand, many said.
A nameless man from near Spartanburg won $800,000 last year. The guy, who had seven kids but no wife, did say he was happy with the money and still didn't want a wife, thank you very much.
He won the same day that a ticket was sold in Rock Hill for $800,000 that was never claimed. That Rock Hill ticket became invalid in April after 180 days, making it still the largest unclaimed ticket in the lottery's five-plus years. There's one person whose name I would like to know, so I could call and scream: "Why?"
Just two weeks ago, Chester's Francis Stephenson, the nicest guy anybody ever met who was the state's first $1 million winner two years ago, won another $400,000. The always humble Stephenson, who for a story in The Herald in 2005 let me go to his favorite hangout with him after he won his million dollars -- a bait shop with a bar inside on the J.A. Cochran Bypass in Chester -- thought he might spring for a new lawnmower this time.
Please, sir from North Carolina. Call a press conference. Show up in a stretch limo. Wear a tuxedo. Live a little, man.