PALATINE – Two days before the Sept. 8 Illinois Lotto drawing, Cary resident Steve Pearson went into Mr. A’s Liquor World and bought his usual $10 in lottery tickets along with some beverages.
His purchase that day included a Lotto ticket worth $3.25 million.
Through a quick pick, Pearson and his wife, Mary, had all six numbers correct and were the lone winners of the Sept. 8 Illinois Lotto drawing.
They took the lump sum, and after taxes and fees, they have $1.75 million.
On Monday, the couple received their ceremonial check and had a celebration at the liquor store.
“I can’t believe this says my name on it,” Mary Pearson said.
The Pearsons, who will celebrate their 31st wedding anniversary next week, said they plan to invest and help family members with their winnings.
“If I don’t have family and friends, what’s the point,” Mary Pearson said.
They also hope to travel to places such as Hawaii, Ireland, Italy and Amsterdam, and “then we’ll take a little break,” Steve Pearson said.
To celebrate their win, they took a limo ride Monday.
When they arrived at the store, Steve Pearson said he had some more lottery tickets to check.
Mary Pearson works as a mammographer at Advocate Good Shepherd in Barrington and Steve Pearson is a sheet metal worker. Steve plans to keep working, but Mary is undecided.
They won’t buy anything for a while. Their house is paid off and they are looking for a dream home.
After finding out they won, Steve Pearson surprised Mary with two-dozen roses.
Steve Pearson spends about $20 a week on lottery tickets. He plays about $10 at Mr. A.’s and $10 at Volume Liquors in Cary. Twenty years ago, the couple won $100 in a scratch-off game.
As commission for selling the winning ticket, Mr. A’s Liquor World will receive $32,500.
The liquor store has been there for almost 10 years, and they’ve sold winning lottery tickets before, but never this big. The store has some $1,000 winners, owner Raj Patel said.
Patel said he will “put some stock in the store, pay off some bills, take my wife on a vacation I guess.”
Inside of the store are signs saying “Check your Lotto tickets; $3.25 million at this store.”
With a group of about a dozen people gathered at Mr. A’s Liquor, the store opened a couple of bottles of Korbel to celebrate the win.
After a commemorating the win with family and friends at the liquor store, Steve Pearson bought some more lottery and Powerball tickets before heading off to lunch.
“You got to spend it to make it,” Steve Pearson said.