HOUSTON—Somewhere out there somebody has a little piece of paper worth $13,221,990.
That’s the cash value of the Mega Millions lottery ticket sold in the Rosslyn Food Mart, a little convenience store on in northwest Houston.
Texas Lottery officials confirm someone bought the ticket at the small store located in a shopping strip on North Houston Rosslyn Road, picking the six numbers that hit the $20-million jackpot. The winner chose the so-called "cash value option," taking the money in an immediate lump sum that reduces the prize money to a paltry $13.2-million.
"I bought my ticket here, too," said Christina Jones, a regular store customer. "I thought it was me. But after seeing that the numbers were picked, I knew it wasn’t me. So I’m just overwhelmed. I’m happy for the person that picked the numbers. And I’m also happy for the store, for the store owners, because they deserve it."
The store owners will collect $190,000 for selling the winning ticket.
Customers, who speak affectionately about the family running the store, say the owners can use the money to help them overcome losses they logged after three burglaries.
A section of the wall behind the counter shows damage where thieves broke into the store. Elsewhere stands an automated teller that burglars vandalized. Anxious about their safety, family members asked television reporters to avoid taking their picture.
"They’ve got customers who don’t have money for milk, food, diapers, things of that sort," said Daniel Nanez, another regular customer. "And they’re continually giving all the time. They never stop."
Whoever won the multi-million dollar lottery has plenty of time to come forward. State officials say the winner has 180 days to claim the prize money.