Lotto player, buying a $1 or $2 Quick Pick ticket every time he stopped to buy gas, a Lottery news release said.
He wasn't aware he'd won the Aug. 15 jackpot until the day after the drawing, when he returned to the store where he bought the ticket -- the Speedway at 1621 W. Jefferson St. -- to have it scanned. The message came up as "file a claim," Thu said.
“The clerk said it meant that I won something big,” Thu told Lottery officials.
Too nervous to check himself, Thu returned home and asked his daughter to check the ticket for him.
“My daughter said, ‘Dad, you hit the jackpot … and you are the only winner!’ And then I was so excited I couldn’t sleep for four days!”
Thu's ticket matched all six numbers – 11-15-29-41-42-43 – in the Lotto drawing.
Thu, a Vietnamese native who didn't disclose his profession, said he and his wife will share the winnings with their son and daughter, donate some money to charity and possibly plan a vacation to his homeland, the news release said.
“I’ve always wanted to take my family to Vietnam and now we can all go,” he said.
Thu collected his prize in a lump sum of $3,906,785, which is actually $2,734,749 after state and federal withholding tax is paid, the release said. The jackpot was worth $5.7 million is paid out over 20 years.
The Joliet Speedway will receive a $57,000 bonus, equal to 1 percent
of the prize amount, for selling the winning ticket.