Mar 6, 2006, 6:45 am
Columbia resident William Hainen might be $1.6 million richer after winning the Missouri Lottery, but that doesn't mean he's a celebrity at the convenience store where he bought the winning ticket.
"I have no idea who he is," said Kim Morgan, assistant manager at the Fast Lane on Route HH in northeast Columbia.
Representatives of the Missouri Lottery stopped at the store on Thursday, informed the staff that the winning Lotto ticket had been sold there and provided the store with signs to boast of the super sale.
" 'Oh my God,' " Morgan said she remembered thinking. " 'We actually sold a winner.' "
Morgan, 22, has worked for six years at the convenience store. She said Lotto tickets rank second in the store's most frequently sold items, right behind gasoline and ahead of beer. For selling that ticket to Hainen, Fast Lane will receive a bonus equal to 1 percent of the winnings - $16,000.
Hainen's winnings dwarf the few $100 prizes Morgan said she has seen people win at the store. Hainen, whose listed residence is less than two miles from the convenience store, was not available for comment.
Another Fast Lane patron, David Sallee, said yesterday he plays the Missouri Lottery each week at the store, hoping for a payday similar to Hainen's.
"I've worked me out a system," the 55-year-old said yesterday. "I've got three sets of the best numbers in the world."
To get choice numbers, Sallee said, he reviewed the winning numbers for a number of weeks and chose the numbers that most often appeared on winning tickets. He's been playing those numbers for more than three years, though not with much success.
"Not anything really mentionable," he said of a handful of $10 to $15 successes.
Sallee said that even though he wishes he had come away with the $1.6 million, he was happy for Hainen, though they have never been introduced.
"I'm glad to see somebody win," he said. "Somebody close."
With Hainen's win in the back of his mind, Sallee said his plan is to believe in his system, play each week and hope for some luck.
"If it's good for him, it's good for me," he said. "I'll just maintain my style."
Morgan said she has seen a slight increase in Lotto sales since the news broke that the store sold the winning ticket, but she's not letting the hype suck her into the game.
"I don't play," she said. "I know I'll lose."
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