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New millionaire takes good fortune in stride

Michael Moss says the Quick Mart at 402 Main St. is the luckiest store in Thomson.

Moss stopped at the lottery counter by chance Feb. 1 after a doctor's appointment. He returned Friday to celebrate winning a $1 million top prize in the Georgia Lottery Black $10 instant game.

Moss accepted an oversize check from Georgia Lottery District Manager John Hodor. Hodor said five $1 million prizes remain unclaimed in the game.

Moss, who had been off work with the flu that Tuesday, said he didn't spend much on the lottery that evening. "I got about two Jumbo Bucks and that Georgia Black," he said.

He said he was surprised when he saw the $1 million prize on his ticket.

"I mean you never really hear about anybody winning around here," he said.

"The guy was so cool and calm at the time," said Sikandar "Sunny" Memon, who said he has owned the store about four years. Memon said he was at the store at about 6:30 p.m. when Melvin Harris sold the winning ticket. He said Moss showed the winning ticket to others and returned Wednesday to provide a photocopy, which is now posted above the counter.

Moss made no ceremony of telling his wife, Shamika, about the winning ticket.

"I just walked in and showed it to her," he said.

She acknowledged that she took the news with little comment.

He said the winnings will "pay off bills and send the kids to college." He would not discuss his children. He said the family is making no vacation plans for the moment.

Moss went to Atlanta on Feb. 2 to claim his prize. The chalk miner said he did not need to call in sick from Thiele Kaolin Co. in Wrens because he was already off sick with the flu.

Shamika Moss works at S G D North America in Sparta, where she decorates perfume bottles.

Michael Moss said Georgia Lottery officials offered him choices that ranged from taking the prize immediately to taking the winnings over 20 years. Moss had not chosen a payout plan Monday.

He was given a color copy of the winning ticket and says he plans to frame it.

Moss said he will continue buying lottery tickets "every now and then," and added, "It's not something I do every day anyway."

Hodor, whose Georgia Lottery district includes 24 counties, said the state keeps tabs on the dozens of scratch-off games and pulls the games when the winning tickets have been sold.

Eddy Culbreath of Martinez, the lottery sales agent for 124 stores from Augusta to Crawfordville, said the $1 million prize is the largest scratch-off prize he's seen in one of his stores.

Another clerk, Gloria Brown, said news of the winning ticket spread quickly.

"There's been a lot of buzz," she said.

Brown said she has worked at the store for 20 years and used to play the lottery.

"I have bought a few tickets, but not in the last five or six years," she said.

"It got where it didn't interest me anymore."

She said she has no plans to resume buying lottery tickets, despite the sale of the winning ticket at the store this week.

Memon said he does not receive a share of the winnings on scratch-off tickets but hopes the publicity will increase sales. He said his store sold a $100,000 winning ticket and has sold two $50,000 winners.

Web posted on Thursday, February 10, 2011

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