SAN JOSE (KPIX) – The smile on Kawal Sachdev’s face grew faster than the crowd gathering inside San Jose’s Ernie’s Liquors.
A bolt of excitement was rippling through the small store on South White Road as word spread that the one winning lottery ticket in Tuesday night’s $543 million Mega Millions Lottery had been bought there.
“It feels good, really good,” said Sachdev who will receive $1 million for selling the winning ticket.
While the prize was originally reported as being for $522 million, California Lottery officials confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that the frenzy of ticket buying Tuesday night prior to the Mega Millions deadline drove the prize up $21 million.
Sachdev told KPIX 5 he was taking a nap when one of his employees called and congratulated him.
“He said ‘Congratulations’ and I said ‘About what?'” Sachdev said. “He said our store sold the winning lottery ticket. I jumped and came right over here.”
Joining Sachdev in his celebration were family, friends and customers along with a TV news crews.
“I’m still shocked,” he said. “I’m still in the process of digesting what happened.”
Sachdev has owned the store since 2000 and been selling lottery tickets for 18 years.
“I was hoping, wishing [to sell a winning million-dollar lottery ticket], but never thought I would sell a winning ticket for that much,” he said.
As to who bought the ticket, Sachdev said there was a pool 3,000-4,000 potential winners.
“We had not sold that many tickets this time around,” he said. “In the past, we have sold a lot of tickets because there was a lottery fever before. Now, it’s more subdued…Most people bought 3 tickets (in a single purchase) was me.”
Deputy Director of corporate communications for the California Lottery Russ Lopez, presented Sachdev and his family with a symbolic oversized check for $1 million Wednesday afternoon for selling the winning ticket.
The jackpot was the fifth largest in the history of the game. The biggest-ever Mega Millions jackpot — $656 million — was won in March 2012. It was shared by winners in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.
The winner or winners, who have not yet claimed the prize, can take about $320 million in a lump-sum cash option or $543 million over 29 years.
The winning numbers were 1, 2, 4, 19, 29 and 20. The odds of winning the jackpot with a $2 ticket were 1-in-302,575,350.