North Carolina Man Celebrates $500,000 Lottery Win By Surprising Wife

By Sarah Tate

November 8, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

A man in North Carolina deviated from his routine lottery ticket purchase and scored a huge half-million dollar win in the process.

When James Zech, of Winston-Salem, plays the lottery, he usually goes for a simple $3 of $5 scratch-off ticket. However, when he recently stopped by the Food Lion on Kinnamon Village Loop in Clemmons, he picked a $500,000 Cashword ticket instead, according to a release from the NC Education Lottery.

"For some reason I just decided to try a $10 one," he said. "I like playing crosswords in real life."

This last-minute switch ended up bringing Zech good luck as he learned the ticket was a winner and scored him a $500,000 prize. He immediately knew he had to share the good news with his wife.

"I went home and told my wife we won a half-million dollars but she didn't believe me," he recalled. He eventually convinced her that it was, in fact, very real. "After I surprised my wife with it, we called my daughter."

Zech claimed his prize at lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Monday (November 7), bringing home a grand total of $355,053 after all required state and federal tax withholdings. when asked what he plans to do with his new winnings, he told lottery officials he hopes to use his prize to take his family on a trip to the beach.

He added, "The first thing we are going to do is treat the family to a nice Thai dinner."

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