BLAINE - After seeing "Sorry, not a winner" so many times, your eyes will start to play tricks on you.
Longtime Blaine resident Leo Wegner, 72, had checked about a dozen losing lottery tickets at the Blaine Cost Cutter Friday, Feb. 15, before a winner popped up on the screen.
He thought it said he'd won $28, but when he called over an employee to check, he got a nice surprise.
"Her eyes got big and she said, 'That's not $28, that's $280,000,'" he said.
Wegner describes himself as the kind of guy who stays calm in a car crash, so he reacted with tranquility to the news that he'd won the Hit 5 jackpot. He'd bought the ticket on Feb. 2, and it had been in his truck for almost two weeks before he finally turned it in.
"All of a sudden, I've been sitting on $280,000 on the seat of my truck, getting dusty and dirty," he said.
Wegner usually buys one ticket a day and stores them up to check them in bulk. He's won a couple dollars here and there but has never won big like this before. Times had been tough financially, and he said the win just felt timely.
"Finally it hit. It's probably not going to happen again, so I've got to hang on to my money," he said.
"It's not enough to attract beautiful young ladies, so I'm probably pretty safe," he added with a laugh.
He took $210,000 home after taxes, and it's a nice cushion that he plans on keeping mostly intact.
He is buying a few little things he's always wanted, though. He picked up a new pair of Red Wing boots and a 2005 Chevy pickup truck - his old truck had more than 240,000 miles on it - and he plans on getting himself a nice set of stainless steel pans from Costco because he loves to cook.
"Flashy things are not important to me anymore, having a new car," he said. "I'm just happy with the lifestyle I've got."