Robert Bailey has played the same lottery numbers for nearly three decades. This year, it paid off when he won a whopping $343.8 million jackpot.
The 67-year-old retired government employee came forward Wednesday to claim last month’s winning Powerball ticket — the largest jackpot in in New York lottery history.
Bailey’s numbers matched all six, and he opted to take the cash value and walk away with a net check of $125,396,690 after required withholdings.
It capped off an exciting few weeks for a man who bought the magic ticket last month at a deli in Harlem. He regularly buys his tickets at the same three or four stores, but on this particular day, it was raining so he ducked into a deli to stay dry and decided to buy a ticket.
“A family member gave me the numbers over 25 years ago and I faithfully play them,” he said. When the winning numbers were announced, Bailey checked his ticket online and was stunned.
“I said to myself, ‘these look like my numbers.’ I tried to remain calm and sat down to watch some shows I had on my DVR. I didn’t sleep the rest of the night,” he said.
He plans to “do the right thing with the money.” And he’s not planning to stop playing any time soon.
“Yes, I will continue playing my numbers until this train runs out,” he said.
New York Lottery Director Gweneth Dean congratulated Bailey on the historic win.
The total prize in the October 27 drawing was $687 million. Bailey will split the jackpot with a woman in Iowa who also got the winning numbers.
Lerynne West, 51, bought her ticket at a store in the small town of Redfield, Iowa, while grabbing pizza and coffee with her sister. She had just bought her first home and was moving in that day.