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N.C.'s first $100K lottery winner plays it cool

Apr 3, 2006, 8:42 am

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North Carolina Lottery

When Richard Garland scratched off his $5 N.C. lottery ticket Thursday in a Conover store, he wasn't quite sure how the game worked.

The Newton man initially thought he had gotten lucky and won $10,000. He was both lucky and wrong.

Garland had won $100,000 and became a part of state history as the lottery's first big winner after the games debuted Thursday.

He spoke Sunday, although the 54-year-old still seemed a bit dazed from all of the attention.

Garland had bought a $1 and a $5 scratch-off ticket at BJY FastStop convenience store. After he got home, his youngest son saw that the $5 Carolina Cash ticket might be worth the top prize of $100,000.

"Then I called Raleigh. I don't think they were expecting that so quickly," Garland said.

Lottery officials wouldn't confirm the winning amount until after he arrived at the Capitol on Friday.

Garland rents a home now but said he'd like to buy a house or put down a substantial down payment for one.

He's worked in shipping at a local furniture company for most of the past year. Garland hopes to take the next two weeks off and said he is considering taking a job out of state.

Just don't expect any other big lifestyle changes. "I don't see any point on changing who I am just because I won a couple of dollars," Garland said. After returning from Raleigh on Friday, he and his wife ate dinner at the same Chinese restaurant they go to each week.

BJY owner Yates Deal said he was glad to see one of his regulars win the prize and expects it will be put to good use. "He's not one to blow it the next day," Deal said.

He also sold a ticket worth $250 to a woman whose husband was fussing at her over the phone for spending $5 on the lottery. "I told him to shut up because she just won," Deal said.

As for Garland, he couldn't remember the last time something lucky happened to him. The odds of winning the top Carolina Cash prize are 1 in 2.88 million; a person is more than four times as likely to get zapped by lightning this year.

Garland's take, after state and federal taxes, comes to $68,002.

"That's $68,000 more than I had, so what was I to be disappointed about?" he asked.

And Garland is still pressing his luck. He bought a pair of $2 lottery tickets Saturday night but didn't win.

When he takes some time off, he said he may hit Harrah's Cherokee Casino in the N.C. mountains with his wife. Then, Garland chuckled and said, "I'll see if my luck's still holding."

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