This man is glad he didn’t listen to his wife. According to the New York Daily News, back in January, Nancy Viola asked her husband, NYPD sergeant Vito Viola, to pick up a Powerball lottery ticket for the largest jackpot in U.S. history.
Instead, Vito bought a Quick Pick for the Mega Millions at the 2520 Foodmart in Staten Island, and his numbers — 11, 39, 51, 57, 75, and the Mega Ball 2 — won them $169 million!
Since the whole country was going crazy for the Powerball at the time, Nancy, 37, wanted a shot at the prize. “The jackpot was $900 million,” Nancy said, explaining why she wanted to play Powerball, according to the Daily News. “It was big. It was all everybody was talking about. He didn’t listen.”
“That was a good thing!” she said on Thursday, June 30, as the couple accepted a giant check.
The day after the lucky numbers were announced, Nancy heard the winning ticket was sold at the same supermarket where Vito had bought their ticket, so she checked their numbers and was in disbelief.
“I started with the Mega Ball,” she said. “I checked all the other numbers. They all matched, and can you imagine what that was like? I thought I was having a heart attack. There was a little screaming.”
The couple kept the life-changing news quiet for months. “We didn’t tell anybody. We kept it a secret,” she said. “It was difficult, but it’s exciting now.” They claimed the ticket on March 10 and elected to receive the money in one payment (a grand total of $64,796,160 after taxes).
The lucky winners have stayed mum about how they plan to spend the check, but Vito, also 37, is planning an early retirement from the NYPD.
“It’s just absolutely amazing,” Nancy said. “It’s just a blessing.”
They aren’t the only ones that won big in January. The Powerball jackpot eventually climbed to $1.6 billion, and three winning tickets were sold: one in Chino Hills, California; one in Munford, Tennessee; and one in Melbourne Beach, Florida.