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Meet the 24-year-old man who won the $768.4 million Powerball jackpot

MADISON, Wis. – The winner of a Powerball lottery ticket worth $768.4 million is 24-year-old Manuel Franco of Wisconsin.

Franco spoke at length with reporters on Tuesday afternoon, describing in detail the day he had purchased the tickets that led to this big win. Franco said he left work around 2 p.m. on March 27 and went to the Speedway in New Berlin a few minutes later. He bought $10 worth of individual Powerball tickets, according to WITI.

“I pretty much felt lucky,” Franco said.

Franco felt so lucky, he looked into the camera at the counter – and pondered winking at it. In the end, he did not.

Franco said he did not watch the Powerball drawing that evening – and actually left for work the next morning without checking the tickets. During the day, he heard all the buzz about someone from Wisconsin hitting the jackpot – and grew curious.

When Franco got home, he first checked the tickets that he and his girlfriend had purchased together – there were no winners. Then he grabbed the ten tickets he purchased after work the day before. The third ticket he checked was a winner of $4 – for hitting the Powerball number. Franco said he got excited about that. It was the last ticket in his hand that ended up being the big winner.

“I don’t want to embarrass myself on live TV but, what I can explain. It was amazing. My heart started racing, blood pumping. My blood felt warm. Screamed for about five or ten minutes. Good thing my neighbors didn’t hear,” Franco said.

Franco said his dad cried when he broke the news to him.

“My mom, she thought I was in trouble. And she’s like, ‘You need to tell me the truth. Is that what happened?’ I said, ‘Yes mom, that is true,” Franco said.

Franco is taking the $477 million lump sum payment from Wisconsin Lottery. He told reporters he does not plan to play Powerball again.

The win came almost exactly two years after Wisconsin’s last Powerball jackpot, when a Milwaukee resident won $156.2 million on March 22, 2017.  The winning numbers March 27 were 16, 20, 37, 44 and 62. The Powerball number was 12.

Listen to Chris Staples on this episode of Eat It, Virginia!


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