Thanks to Storm, Man Is NY's Biggest Lotto Winner

Retired principal Harold Diamond, 80, bought $326M ticket
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2015 10:07 AM CST
Thanks to Storm, Man Is Biggest NY Lotto Winner Ever
Harold Diamond and his wife, Carol, receive their ceremonial check from Yolanda Vega at the Valero gas station in Wallkill, NY, on Jan. 12, 2015.   (AP Photo/Times Herald-Record, John DeSanto)

(Newser) – If Harold Diamond's wife hadn't insisted they ride out a storm by getting a sandwich at a local Subway, they wouldn't be millions of dollars richer right now. The retired elementary school principal, 80, and his wife, Carol, had pulled over to eat on Election Day into a highway service station on Route 302 in Middletown, NY—"I reluctantly agreed," he tells the Post-Standard—when Diamond decided to buy 10 Mega Millions lottery tickets for $10, NBC New York reports. It wasn't until the next day after golfing that he heard the winning $326 million ticket had been sold at the Valero gas station where he had purchased his own ticket. "I saw the first five numbers, so I immediately knew we won a million," he told reporters, per the New York Daily News. "And then when I saw the last number, I yelled up to my wife, 'I think we won a few bucks!'"

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That "few bucks" amounts to the largest NY Lottery payout ever—about $130 million after taxes on the $197 million lump-sum payout, according to the Post-Standard. "I was in a dither, a real daze," Diamond reportedly told the NY Lottery after realizing his good fortune. He received his giant ceremonial check yesterday from the NY Lottery's Yolanda Vega at the Valero where it all started. With Carol by his side, Diamond told the crowd gathered there that "I always listen to what she says," notes the Daily News. The Diamonds, who have been married for 55 years, reportedly plan on visiting Hawaii, where they celebrated their 25th anniversary, as well as helping out family members and "giving back to the local community," as per the Post-Standard. (Here's what to do if you ever win Mega Millions.)

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