WOODBINE, N.J. – Georgia's newest millionaire skipped work Thursday after claiming half the $390 million Mega Millions jackpot, while lottery officials in New Jersey waited for the second winning ticket in the richest lottery in U.S. history to surface.
"I just hope it's a person that really deserves the money, someone that really needs it," said Jim Schroder, the owner of Campark Liquors in Woodbine, where that second ticket was sold.
In Georgia, winner Ed Nabors wasn't answering his phone. He skipped work Thursday, said Sal Perillo, general counsel for his employer, Mohawk Industries.
"He's probably sitting down trying to figure out what's going to happen," Perillo said. "We are all very excited for him and very happy for him, and that comes from the heart."
"I'm still numb," Nabors, 52, had said Wednesday as he held his oversized lottery check reading: $116.5 million.
He said he wanted to buy a home for his daughter, who has long wanted to move out of her mobile home, and he added, "I'm going to do a lot of fishing."
Nabors bought the ticket with his weekly cup of coffee at a convenience store in Dalton, Ga. — the self-proclaimed "Carpet Capital of the World" — near a carpet mill run by his employer, Mohawk Industries.
When he discovered around 9 a.m. that morning that he had won, he sat stunned in his rig until a dispatcher radioed wondering what was going on.
"He was shaking so hard they sent him home from work," said his mother, Doris Nabors, who shares a home with her son in Rocky Face, Ga., about 90 miles north of Atlanta.
Since Nabors chose a lump sum rather than annual installments, his pay out is $116.5 million before taxes — more than $80 million after.
"We just can't believe it," his mother said from the door of the rural home she shares with Nabors. An American flag waved over a patch of daffodils, and a small camper and fishing boat were parked outside.
The other jackpot winner has exactly 365 days from Tuesday's drawing to turn in the New Jersey ticket to state lottery officials.
The winning numbers were 16-22-29-39-42, with the Mega Ball 20. The jackpot odds: 1 in 176 million.
The previous largest lottery jackpot in the U.S. was $365 million in 2006, when eight workers at a Nebraska meatpacking plant won the Powerball drawing. The Big Game, the forerunner of Mega Millions, paid out a $363 million jackpot in 2000.
Mega Millions tickets are sold in California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington state.