Written by Betsy Abraham Wednesday, 11 December 2013 00:00
Once a week, Robert Blume goes to Virpa Convenience on Carman Ave. to buy breakfast and lottery tickets. When he bought his Mega Millions and Powerball tickets on Sunday, Oct. 20, it was just like any other day. But when he went in to Virpa to check his tickets later that week, life changed forever.
He won $7 with his Mega Millions ticket, and then ran his Powerball ticket through the ticket check. Instead of the usual reading of “Sorry You Are Not A Winner,” he saw a message that said ‘Big Winner. See Retailer.’
“I thought something was wrong with the machine so I called the two guys that own the store to come look for themselves. They said there was nothing wrong with the machine and that the store had sold a million dollar ticket,” Blume said.
Blume says his immediate reaction was disbelief, and last week at an official winner check presentation at the new Lottery Customer Service Center in Plainview, he says it’s still surreal.
“I was in big disbelief that I won,” Blume says. “I was happy, but it was kind of surreal. It’s nice and I’m certainly not disappointed.”
Blume won $1 million, which he has chosen to receive in a lump sum of $661,800 after required withholdings. A project manager for a roofing company, the Westbury resident plans to use his winnings to invest in his children’s education and for other investments for the future.
“We’re big animal people,” said Blume, who owns 10 cats and a dog. “I can see us maybe doing something nice for animals too.”
Virpa Convenience owner Vijay Patel says the store is no stranger to winning tickets. They had a million dollar winner in 2007 and a Take 5 $19,000 winner last year.
“You can come anytime, this is a lucky place,” Patel says with a laugh.