Whole town buzzes over Mega Millions winner - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Whole town buzzes over Mega Millions winner

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September 18, 2006

Climax -- The city of Climax lives up to its name, producing Georgia's single largest lottery winner ever.  

Ben Chason was in Atlanta this morning to pick up his check for more than $95 million. Chason correctly matched the numbers of six, 26, 33, 39, 55 and Mega Ball number one to win Friday's $163 million Mega Millions Jackpot.

He chose the cash option. Chason found out he was the big winner when he stopped for gas Sunday morning.   "I just froze, I said, 'Man, I believe I won the lottery!'"

"And he stuck it in the machine, and he said, 'Yeah you did!" and so I said 'I got to go,' and he said 'What's your name?' and I said 'I don't have a name.'"  

Chason works in maintenance for the Bainbridge Housing Authority. He is the father of a teenage son and said he will use the winnings to help others.

Chason bought the winning ticket at a convenience store in Bainbridge. The town has been buzzing all weekend over who may have won.    

Word spread like lightning through Bainbridge that the winning Mega Millions ticket was sold right here. Matilda Jackson said, "This is the talk of town about this here money, I mean everybody's talking about it, everybody's talking about it."

Word was out before the official announcement was made. Debbie Moore said, "There's a guy in Climax, Chason, I think his name is Ben Chason."

The Stop N Buy at the corner of 235 and Dothan Road sold the ticket. "We couldn't believe it," said Stop N Shop Co-owner Peter Patel.  "I let my cousin hear it about two times again, we turned the speaker phone on and let everyone else hear it, just to make sure I wasn't dreaming."

Owners say the winning ticket  was likely a quick pick. "We had like only three cashiers that day working and we didn't have time to go fill up the cooler or nothing," said Co-owner Andy Patel.  

The three owners, Andy, Mike, and Peter Patel will also split $25,000 for selling the winning ticket.  "We're probably going to invest it in the store, to get more money, I hope somebody wins again in the store," said Andy.

And likely their lottery sales will soar, as lottery players hope they are as lucky as Ben Chason.  

In case you were wonder your chances at winning the Mega Millions, the odds of winning the jackpot prize are approximately one in 175 million.

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