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Stroke of luck leads to family’s Megabucks jackpot

  • Cathy Bennett hugs Circle K clerk Nikki Gee at the Hillsboro Circle K store;  Friday, December 21, 2012. On Wednesday Gee sold bennett's husband, Scott, a winning Tri-State Megabucks Plus ticket that won the family $1.3 million.<br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

    Cathy Bennett hugs Circle K clerk Nikki Gee at the Hillsboro Circle K store; Friday, December 21, 2012. On Wednesday Gee sold bennett's husband, Scott, a winning Tri-State Megabucks Plus ticket that won the family $1.3 million.

    (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Cathy Bennett hugs Circle K clerk Nikki Gee at the Hillsboro Circle K store;  Friday, December 21, 2012. On Wednesday Gee sold bennett's husband, Scott, a winning Tri-State Megabucks Plus ticket that won the family $1.3 million.<br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

    Cathy Bennett hugs Circle K clerk Nikki Gee at the Hillsboro Circle K store; Friday, December 21, 2012. On Wednesday Gee sold bennett's husband, Scott, a winning Tri-State Megabucks Plus ticket that won the family $1.3 million.

    (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Cathy Bennett hugs Circle K clerk Nikki Gee at the Hillsboro Circle K store;  Friday, December 21, 2012. On Wednesday Gee sold bennett's husband, Scott, a winning Tri-State Megabucks Plus ticket that won the family $1.3 million.<br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)
  • Cathy Bennett hugs Circle K clerk Nikki Gee at the Hillsboro Circle K store;  Friday, December 21, 2012. On Wednesday Gee sold bennett's husband, Scott, a winning Tri-State Megabucks Plus ticket that won the family $1.3 million.<br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

Scott Bennett went into the Circle K in Hillsboro on Wednesday because he wanted a Lucky for Life, but the clerk made a mistake and now he’s a millionaire.

Nikki Gee, 24, was supposed to sell Bennett, a 48-year-old father of three, one Lucky for Life ticket and one Tri-State Megabucks Plus ticket.

But her finger drifted a fraction of an inch on the computer screen, and Bennett went home with two Megabucks instead.

One of those tickets netted Bennett, a property manager who lives in Hillsboro, $1.3 million before taxes.

“There might be a few extra presents under the tree,” Cathy Bennett, his wife of 27 years, said yesterday at a press conference at the Circle K on West Main Street where her husband bought the ticket.

Flanked by family members and friends, Cathy said her husband couldn’t be at the press conference because he had to go to work.

Cathy, a 47-year-old teacher’s aide at Hillsboro-Deering Elementary School, said she and her husband don’t regularly play the lottery. When Scott got up Thursday morning, he found his car keys on top of a note his 20-year-old son, Trav, left him.

“Check Megabucks tickets if you bought any,” Trav, a

criminal justice student at NHTI, wrote. “Tonight’s ticket was sold in Hillsboro. 2 million.”

Cathy said she later found her husband comparing the numbers on the ticket in his hand with those on the lottery’s website.

“We must have checked them 15 times,” she said. The couple decided to take the cash option of $1.3 million rather than the $2.15 million paid out over time.

“We’ll stretch it as long as we can,” Cathy said.

They told their kids to be home for a family meeting – usually an occasion to scold them for not doing the dishes – and kept the news to themselves.

Their daughter Danielle, who works at the Hillsboro House of Pizza and as the secretary for the principal at John Stark High School, had a feeling something was up, though, based on conversations she overheard.

Cathy said the family will likely pay off student loans, remodel the kitchen and put their third son, a junior at Hillsboro-Deering High School, through college. Cathy said she and her husband love their jobs and intend to keep working.

Circle K received $21,000 for selling the winning ticket.

Established in 1964, the New Hampshire Lottery has recorded more than $4.3 billion in sales and other earnings, paying out more than $2.8 billion in prizes and other costs of sales. It has paid more than $1.5 billion toward education.

The Bennetts’ ticket was the 162nd Tri-State Megabucks jackpot winning ticket sold in New Hampshire since the game began in 1985.

After the Bennetts learned of their winnings, they replied to their son’s note.

“Thanx a million!” they wrote.

(Molly A.K. Connors can be reached at 369-3319 or
mconnors@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @MAKConnors .)

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