A Columbia, S.C.-area man danced around his kitchen and initially told only his dog when he checked his Powerball ticket last week and discovered he had the $399.4 million winning number, lottery officials said Monday.
And it was only the second time the man had ever played the lottery, he told state education lottery officials — who said he'd asked not to be publicly identified.
The single grand prize ticket was bought at a Murphy USA service station in Lexington, a suburb of Columbia.
Buying the ticket was somewhat of a fluke. The man said he'd stopped for gas when his wife called and told him to pick up hot dog buns.
When he went inside the store, he bought $20 worth of tickets — but not buns, because Murphy doesn't sell them.
South Carolina Education Lottery officials said the man told him he was home alone Thursday when he checked his ticket when the winning numbers were announced: 7, 10, 22, 32, 35 and a Powerball of 19.
The gas station will get a $50,000 bonus for having sold the ticket. The state makes out better: It will reap $15 million in tax revenue.
It's the fourth biggest jackpot in Powerball history — but as the game's payouts get bigger and bigger, it's only the third largest one this year. Powerball has kept growing in part because the ticket price doubled to $2 in January and because California, the biggest state, joined in April.
In May, Gloria C. MacKenzie, an 84-year-old Florida woman, won the biggest Powerball jackpot in history — $590 million.
Then, in early August, three tickets divided a $448 million prize. Sixteen Ocean County, N.J., employees — the "Ocean's 16" — who had all gone through Superstorm Sandy together bought one of them.
The biggest U.S. jackpot ever —a $656 million prize in March 2012 — was in a different game, Mega Millions. But the next four have all been Powerball drawings, leading Mega Millions officials to offer more prizes to lure more players.