South Carolina

$1 million lottery winner gives $100 tips to SC store employees

After a South Carolina convenience store sold a $1 million lottery ticket last week, its employees were nearly as excited as the winner.

The supervisor of Tiger Express on Lady’s Island, Lisa Jarrell, jokes she had to remind her staff that only their customer was walking away with a small fortune.

"I had to tell everybody, 'Listen, you did not win, you have to get back to work,'" Jarrell said with a laugh Friday.

A few days later, though, the lottery winner — who declined to release his name — returned to Tiger Express 20 on Sea Island Parkway, Jarrell said.

He gave each employee a $100 tip.

The store also received a commission of $10,000 for selling the claimed ticket, according to the South Carolina Education Lottery.

Jarrell said the winning $10 Million Dollar Series scratch-off ticket was the biggest prize she's seen while working for Tiger Express.

One Varnville store sold a $200,000 ticket, and several customers have left with smaller prizes, but the $1 million top prize was Jarrell's favorite lottery moment since Jan. 7, 2002.

On that day, she was at a Tiger Express in Columbia for the sale of the first lottery ticket in South Carolina. She taped her interviews with the TV stations and played the video for her family over and over on holidays.

"It was a lot of fun," she said. "Tiger Express has been very involved with the lottery since the very beginning."

Last week's win began when the unidentified customer asked a clerk to pick him out a ticket, Jarrell said. Several employees recognize the man and believe he or his family live in the area, though Jarrell said she didn't know him personally.

The winner went outside for a moment, then came back in and asked the same clerk to check his ticket for him. Her eyes went wide when she saw the man had overcome odds of 1 in 1.6 million to win the last $1 million top prize in the Million Dollar Series game.

"I think he wanted (the clerk) to know she did really good for him, and he was on his way to Columbia," to claim his winnings, Jarrell said.