A New York couple who spent a combined 75 years as educators were announced today as the winners of a $326 million Mega Millions jackpot, the largest in New York Lottery history.
Harold Diamond, 80, of Wurtsboro, and his wife, Carol, accepted a $130,676,438 check – the amount the couple received after taxes and a lump-sum payment – at the same Valero gas station in Middletown, New York, where Diamond purchased the ticket in November.
“My wife and I were driving to Middletown for dinner after voting on Election Day but the weather made us rethink our plans,” Diamond, a school principal who retired in 1995, said in a statement released by lottery officials.
“My wife insisted we stop here to eat and wait for the weather to clear, and I reluctantly agreed,” he said of Carol, a 36-year teaching veteran who retired in 1994.
While the couple ate at a Subway shop inside the service station, Diamond says he saw the Mega Millions jackpot signs and decided to buy decided to buy 10 sets of Quick Pick numbers for $10.
That $10 would turn the Diamonds into multimillionaires, but Diamond says he did not realize it until he was out golfing the next day with friends.
“I put the ticket in my wallet and forgot about it,” he said. “I went to play golf the next day and the guys in the clubhouse were talking about the jackpot-winning ticket someone bought at a Valero on Route 302 and I thought, wait a minute – I bought a ticket there last night!”
When Diamond saw the six winning numbers matched the second set of Quick Pick numbers on his ticket, he went into a “real daze.”
“I was in a dither,” Diamond told lottery officials.
The Diamonds’ decision to take their money in a one-time, lump sum amount means they are now trying to figure out what to do with $130 million.
“I simply can’t envision that kind of money,” he said. “It’s very hard to fathom. We feel very blessed.”
Diamond, who has two adult sons with Carol, told lottery officials his first plans are giving to family and "giving back to the community."