At a small store off a two-lane road in rural South Carolina, “lightning struck,” the excited mayor of Simpsonville said Wednesday.
Mayor Janice Curtis said she found out from a reporter that the winning ticket in the $1.537 billion Mega Millions drawing had been sold in her town.
According to the mayor, the journalist asked, “How do you feel about this happening in little ol’ Simpsonville?’ And I about fell out. I had no idea. Can you believe it? One ticket! Here!”
Simpsonville is the kind of town where farm fields are giving way to housing developers. The city grew from 18,000 to 22,000 people as the Greenville suburbs encroached over the past seven years.
The mayor loves her residents.
“We are such a warm community, if someone needs something, we are there,” she said. “If someone needs celebrating, and this is certainly an occasion to celebrate, we are there.”
Lottery officials have given no details about the person who bought the winning ticket, whether they live in Simpsonville or were just passing by the KC Mart #7 and decided to stop.
The mart, with its six gas pumps, is an out-of-the way crossroads far from the interstate and used by locals headed home or to work.
People flocked to the store Wednesday to take pictures with the owner, or to see whether lightning will strike twice by buying tickets for the $620 million Powerball drawing.
Owner CJ Patel was shaking and had goose bumps as he absorbed the news that his establishment had sold the winning ticket, he told CNN affiliate WYFF in Greenville.
Patel’s store gets $50,000 for selling the ticket, and he said he’ll “do some good with that money.”
As for the ticket holder?
“Whoever the winner is hopefully spends that money locally and (does) some good stuff for the community,” Patel said.
CNN’s Jason Hanna contributed to this report.