SACRAMENTO – “I was screaming like nobody’s business. My wife thought something was wrong.” That’s Robert Dong, describing the scene inside his Napa home the moment he thought he had a Mega Millions ticket worth a lot of money. “So, I phoned, yelling and screaming, trying to get a hold of Mike.”
Micheal Brisbin, a long-time friend of Dong’s, was sitting in his own home in San Francisco. “When he called and said we won $1.5 million, I said, ‘you’re kidding me, right!?’”
Turns out, Dong was not kidding. The two men have been friends since high school and for years have been pooling their money and buying Lottery tickets when a jackpot reaches a certain threshold, the Lottery said in a news release. On Dec. 10, one of their Quick Pick tickets successfully matched the winning numbers 61-46-54-18, and 31, missing only the Mega number 25.
They’ll split the prize of $1,524,986 (before taxes). It’s far from the $314 million jackpot up for grabs that night but consider the change it can bring.
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Brisbin plans to pay off debts. “It’s a huge weight off my shoulders. I’m getting goosebumps just talking about it,” the lucky winner said. His cohort has other plans. “I thought I’d never be able to retire … that changed [that] night,” Dong said.
The men, who met through a mutual friend 40 years ago, talk about sports and attend sporting events together, especially Giants baseball and Gaels college basketball games. Now the pair have something else to talk about.
“It’s just one more unbelievable experience we will talk about when we’re 90 years old,” Brisbin said. Both winners decline any potential requests for media interviews. No further information about them will be released, the Lottery said.
Dong purchased the ticket at the 7-Eleven located at 2906 First St. in Napa. 7-Eleven will receive a retailer bonus of $7,625 just for selling the winning ticket.
Mega Millions is played in 44 states (plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Tickets cost $2 and can be purchased from any of the more than 23,000 California Lottery retailers or one of the more than 4,000 Lottery Lucky retailers.
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