Customers who frequent the Des Plaines gas station that sold a $1.34 billion lottery ticket Friday are still left wondering who the lucky winner is. And according to officials, things may stay that way.
"As far as the winner is concerned, we have not heard from the winner yet," Illinois Lottery Director Harold Mays said at a press conference Saturday morning. "We don't know whether or not they even know that they won the prize, so I encourage everybody to check your ticket."
The Illinois Lottery encourages the winner to sign the back of their ticket, seek legal advice and make an appointment with the Illinois Lottery to claim their prize.
And while the winner has 12 months from the date of draw to claim their winnings, Illinois Lottery officials say Illinois winners of $250,000 or more can choose to not release their names.
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
“I’ve read reports that people who came forward previously who’ve won, people starting stalking them, and in some cases it hasn’t gone well for them,” said Mohammad Shafi.
He called it “crazy” that the Speedway where he regularly gases up at 885 E. Touhy Ave. is the one that printed out the winning Mega Millions ticket for Friday’s record-breaking drawing.
The winning numbers for the biggest prize in state history — and second biggest ever in the U.S. — were 13-36-45-57-67, with a Mega Ball of 14.
Workers at the station declined to offer their thoughts on the massive payday doled out at their station. The corporate gas station chain will receive a half-million dollar bonus for selling the winning ticket, Illinois Lottery officials said.
Another customer at the station, who asked to be called Z, echoed Shafi’s thoughts, warning the winner to expect calls from long lost relatives.
“Everybody’s gonna come looking for you. You’ll have cousins you never seen before, you’ll have family members you’ve never seen before,” Z said. “Everybody’s attracted to money.”
Z doesn’t play the lottery often, he said, but he came to the Speedway Sunday to buy a ticket after hearing it had sold the jackpot. “I said, let me grab at least a Powerball and see if I can get lucky.”
Garry Adams, who is from Dundee but said he stops at the Speedway all the time, said he would be afraid to come into so much money at once because “it might change the person who I am.”
Adams said he would probably donate most of the jackpot, and start a business with the rest. He also had some advice for the winner.
“I hope he stays honest and doesn’t change himself and doesn’t let people get in his head. Just remember the people that called him and always talked to him everyday,” Adams said. “Don’t be passing the money out. Nobody needs to know.”
The Chicago Sun-Times wire contributed to this article.