When John Ventrice of Seaford gave his son Zachary $20 to buy some lottery tickets, he didn’t expect to become a millionaire.
That’s exactly what happened with the March 8 Lotto drawing. Ventrice and his wife Sharon won $13 million, a fact that was hard to believe for both of them, they said. The Ventrices won with a free ticket they received as part of a limited-time New York Lottery sales promotion that guaranteed players a free set of Quick Pick numbers with every $10 purchase on a single ticket.
“I gave my son Zachary $20 to get some tickets for me as he left the house to gas up his car,” John Ventrice said at a press conference Friday. “I told him to put $10 toward Lotto and $10 toward Powerball.”
Ventrice checked the numbers the following morning when he went to put gas in his own vehicle.
“I scanned the Lotto ticket and it was a $1 winner,” Ventrice, a father of three, said. “I then scanned the free Lotto ticket and it said ‘Big Winner’. I asked the clerk just how big and after he told me, I couldn’t pump the gas fast enough.”
Sharon didn’t believe John when after he raced home and told her the news, so she went to the Gulf Gas station, located at 570 Hicksville Rd., to confirm the news herself.
“I went in alone,” she said. “I asked the clerk, ‘Was there just a man in here with a big winner for the Lotto?’” Even after the clerk said yes, she was still in shock, she said.
The Ventrices opted for a lump sum, with both of them receiving 50 percent of the prize. Each of them will receive a single lump sum payment totaling $4,053,361.50 (net $2,682,515.50). As for their plans on spending, nothing has been decided, but the Ventrices said they will not forget Zachary’s role in their miracle.
“We’ll do something special for him,” John Ventrice said. “He wants a new car. He should probably have a more reliable car.”