Three men raked in unplanned holiday bonuses when they bought winning lottery tickets in the past two weeks. Big bonuses.
Amit Gurung of Papillion bought a $10 Star scratch-off ticket at a Pilot Travel Center on South 24th Street in Council Bluffs on the morning of Dec. 31. He told lottery officials he picked the Iowa Lottery’s Star game because he had won $1,000 playing it a year ago.
He took the ticket to his car and scratched off the numbers. His eyes grew big when he saw that it was a $100,000 winner. He ran inside to tell the clerks he had won.
“They hugged me,” Gurung told lottery officials. “Everybody got happy. I was so happy!”
He and his wife have a small son, and Gurung works at a Mexican restaurant, according to his Facebook page. He plans to use his winnings to pay off the loan on his car and then put the rest toward his home mortgage.
“That’s big money,” he said in a recording on the Iowa Lottery webpage. “Oh my God, what a good ending of the year!”
David Schram of Omaha has played the Nebraska Lottery’s Pick 5 game for years, but had never won.
That’s hardly surprising. The odds of winning the grand prize are 1 in 501,942.
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His luck changed this week, when he purchased a ticket at the QuikTrip store at 13007 Q St. in Omaha. One quick-pick play on the ticket matched the winning numbers 3, 5, 27, 28 and 32 from Monday’s drawing.
Schram claimed the top prize of $86,000.
“It’s a little kick in the pants,” he told Nebraska Lottery officials.
Schram and his wife, Shelley, said they plan to pay bills and buy a new bedroom set.
“This is a blessing,” Shelley Schram said.
Kirk Bartek of Weston, Nebraska, claimed half of a split jackpot in the Dec. 27 Nebraska Pick 5 game, winning $37,000. He bought the ticket at a BP station on Highway 92, about 6 miles west of Wahoo.
Bartek said he’s been playing the same numbers — 8, 10, 15, 19 and 29 — for years. This time, they paid off.
“I was on the computer checking the numbers,” Bartek told Nebraska Lottery officials. “I had to check twice, three times to make sure I’d actually won.”
He said he’ll use the money to pay for some home improvements.
James Brady of Lincoln had already claimed the other half of the Dec. 27 Pick 5 jackpot.