A Northern California retiree came forward on Tuesday to claim his prize as the sole winner of February’s $425 million Powerball jackpot.
B. Raymond Buxton claimed the prize at the California Lottery headquarters in Sacramento after playing the lottery for almost two decades before making it big, telling officials that he had purposely chosen April Fools' Day to turn in his ticket and take the one-time cash option. His cash option will reportedly be worth $242.2 million before taxes.
“‘Unbelievable!’ is all I could muster,” Buxton reportedly said of the moment he learned he had hit the jackpot. “I sat in front of the computer for hours in disbelief, frequently checking and rechecking the numbers across multiple sources. Once the initial shock passed, I couldn’t sleep for days.”
According to reports, Buxton told lottery officials that he had been at a Subway sandwich shop inside a Chevron gas station off Dixon Landing Road in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Milpitas, to buy lunch, when he decided to buy a second ticket for the February draw because the jackpot was so big. The gas station from where Buxton bought the ticket has received a $1 million bonus for selling it.
"You get a check for $200 million-plus, that's automatically going to be a life-changer," California Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso, reportedly said. "It's great in theory and we love that the guy took time to investigate options and think it's great he's going to give money back."
Buxton also told officials that he did not mention winning the jackpot to anyone for the past six weeks, since he learned about his windfall, because he was getting his legal and financial team in place.
"Sitting on a ticket of this value was very scary," he said, according to media reports citing lottery officials. "It's amazing how a little slip of paper can change your life.
"My longer-term plan is trying to find a way to live a normal and discreet life," Buxton reportedly said, adding that he won't be doing any media interviews "at this time."