SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – California’s $324 million Mega Millions jackpot winner Steve Tran had a 3 a.m. epiphany earlier this week that spurred him from sleep and had him fumbling through a pile of lottery tickets on top of his dresser.
“I remembered, I think I went to San Jose,” the Northern California delivery driver told state lottery officials, who had publicized that the winning ticket was purchased at a gift shop in that city.
Tran checked his tickets, and the winner was “just sitting in my house, on top of my drawer.”
After hugs from family, Tran phoned his boss.
“I’m really sorry boss. I hit the jackpot. I don’t think I’m going to come in today, tomorrow, or ever,” Tran remembered.
The $648 million jackpot is the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history. It started its ascent Oct. 4. Lotto officials say 22 draws came and went without winners. Some $336 million in tickets were sold for the Dec. 17 drawing.
The other winner, Ira Curry, is from Georgia and came forward to claim her prize Dec. 18. Lottery officials there say she opted to take the lump sum payment of about $120 million after taxes.
Tran has 60 days to figure out how he wants to be paid.
Tran, who did not say where he lives, said his family likes to visit San Jose because of the city’s large Vietnamese population.
While visiting the area to eat and shop, Tran bought 5 Quick Pick tickets from Jennifer’s Gift Shop, owned by Thuy Nguyen.
Nguyen will also receive $1 million for selling the winning ticket.
Tran told lottery officials that he saw coverage that the winning ticket had been purchased in San Jose, but had forgotten about his purchase.
“Must be a lucky man,” Tran thought.
Then he went on vacation, and forgot about the lottery.
It wasn’t until his middle-of-the-night inspiration upon his return that Tran realized he had indeed purchased tickets in San Jose.
He came forward Thursday, 16 days after the drawing, to claim his prize.
Curry, of Stone Mountain, lives in a neighborhood of brick and stucco houses with manicured lawns about 10 miles east of Atlanta. She lives in a two-story home with a two-car garage and a basketball goal in the driveway.
She purchased the ticket at the Gateway Newsstand in the Alliance Center building in Buckhead, a financial center in Atlanta.
Jason Dearen can be reached at
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier