He began playing the lottery when he turned 18. And in just six years, his persistence paid off…big time.
On Tuesday Manuel Franco, the 24-year-old, came forward as the winner of last month’s $768.4 million Powerball jackpot, after purchasing a ticket at New Berlin Speedway on March 27, the Wisconsin Lottery said in a statement.
“I walked into the Speedway and I purchased $10 worth of individual Powerball tickets,” Franco, of West Allis, Wisconsin, said during a press conference according to ABC News. “I honestly felt so lucky that I did look up at the camera and I wanted to wink at it cause I just had that lucky feeling.”
It wasn’t long until his instincts were validated.
“It feels like a dream… It was amazing, my heart started racing, blood pumping,” he said of winning. “I screamed for about five or 10 minutes.”
When he found out he had the winning ticket — with the combination 16, 20, 37, 44, 62 and Powerball number 12 — Franco said he still showed up for work the next morning. But after feeling anxious for most of the day, he quit and never went back.
After deciding to take the lump sum of $477 million, which will leave him with $326 million after taxes, Franco said he doesn’t plan to be too extravagant and will try to “help out the world,” ABC reported.
“I’m sure you’ll never see me as like one of the people who went bankrupt or broke or anything like that. I plan to live my life normal as much as possible,” he said.
In their statement, the Wisconsin Lottery said the odds of winning the jackpot were 1 in 292,201,338.
“This is truly one of the most exciting days in the 30-plus years of the Wisconsin Lottery,” Lottery Director Cindy Polzin said in a statement. “I am extremely happy for Manny and his life-changing experience. It’s truly a moment to celebrate across the state.”
Franco said that he still thinks of himself as an “ordinary guy” who feels like he’s on the verge of waking up from a dream.
“I want to thank those closest to me for all the support they have given me over the years,” he added in the statement.
“To win feels something like a dream and I feel like at any moment I might wake up. I just can’t believe an ordinary guy like me would ever be in this position … It certainly has changed my life and I look forward to the future.”