Pedro Quezada, a 44-year-old father of five, has 338 million reasons to smile.
The New Jersey convenience store owner beamed as state lottery officials declared him the winner of the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon and presented him with a monster yellow check.
“I felt pure joy,” Quezada said through a translator on Tuesday.
He’s already shut down the store he used to have to wake up at 5 a.m. to open, he said.
A share of his sudden windfall will go toward helping his family, Quezada said.
“My family is a very humble family and we’re going to help each other out,” he said.
“I’m going to help a lot of people, whatever they need,” he told the New York Daily News earlier.
Excitement grew around Quezada’s self-proclaimed win after lottery officials confirmed on Monday that the winning ticket in the $338 million Powerball jackpot was sold at the liquor store in Passaic.
The winners in Saturday night’s drawing were: 17, 29, 31, 52, 53, and the Powerball number, 31.
On Monday, the New Jersey man ran into Eagle Liquors to get his Powerball ticket scanned by store owner Sammy Sethi.
Quezada, who is originally from the Dominican Republic and has been in the United States for 26 years, saw the message come up that people in 42 states were hoping for: “Jackpot!”
The first thing he did was call his wife with the good news.
“I had no words,” she said of hearing her husband had won. “My heart wanted to come out of my chest. I had no words.”
Reporters and photographers packed into Eagle Liquors on Monday after hearing that Quezada was there, even before lottery officials had confirmed the newly minted millionaire, who used to play the lottery two or three times a week.
His life will change “but it will not change my heart,” Quezada said of his new fortune
Quezada lives with his wife and children in an apartment facing a highway. And his neighbors weren’t waiting on state authorities to confirm the news before they started congratulating Quezada.
“This is super for all of us on this block,” neighbor Eladia Vazquez told NBC New York. “They deserve it because they are hardworking people.”