A Kansas City couple undoubtedly had their best Christmas ever after finding out they won the $71.5 million Powerball jackpot.
Kevin Carlson, 49, and his wife claimed the prize at the Missouri Lottery's headquarters in Jefferson City the day after Christmas. The couple declined on-camera interviews. Instead, state lottery officials released a statement on their behalf.
The jackpot was the sixth largest lottery prize ever sold in Missouri. State law requires the release of the names of lottery jackpot winners.
Carlson, a mechanic, said he bought lottery tickets often when he made his usual stop at Autobahn BP, located at 7538 N.W. Prairie View Rd., in Platte Woods.
"Every morning that I work, I stop to get a coffee and a little something to eat," Carlson said.
He stopped by the convenience store on Thursday and discovered he held the only winning ticket from the Christmas Day Powerball drawing. He celebrated his birthday the next day.
"The first time I scanned it, I didn't believe it, so I scanned it again," he said in the statement. "I kind of went nuts."
Carlson said he already quit his job as a mechanic, but his wife plans to continue working.
"Now that I don't work, I plan to use my time to figure out what to do with the money," he added.
In addition to paying bills and helping their two grown children financially, the couple also plans to take a trip for their upcoming 30th wedding anniversary.
Carlson said he also would like to get the car he has always wanted - a 1968 Camaro.
Along with the Carlsons' prize, Autobahn BP will receive a bonus of $50,000 for selling the winning jackpot ticket.
The Carlsons are the 28th players to win a Powerball jackpot in Missouri and the 389th Missouri Lottery-made millionaires since the lottery began in 1986.
Those who know the Carlsons say they are quite deserving.
"Really, it couldn't have happened to better people," Dara Pacheco said. "I know that's kind of cliche but it really couldn't have. They're really, really good people."
Her husband, Brent, said the couple managed to get tickets for them to see Paul McCartney in concert some years back.
"That was really, really sweet of them to do," Brent Pacheco said. "We just wish them the best. I hope they don't move! They've been great neighbors."
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