Car troubles lead Thomasville man to win a $400k lottery prize

Marcus Savvas with his winning lottery check. (Photo provided by the North Carolina Education Lottery)

THOMASVILLE, N.C. – A streak of bad luck ended instantly Thursday with a $400,000 lottery prize for a Thomasville man as he did a good deed for his sister.

“A lot of bad things have happened lately,” said Marcus Savvas. “And then my sister’s car broke down.”

After getting his sister’s call, Savvas, who installs fire sprinkler systems, picked her up, and stopped for gas at the Kangaroo Express on Randolph Street in Thomasville.

“I rarely play the lottery,” Savvas said, according to a press release from the North Carolina Education Lottery. “I only went inside because my sister wanted a cold drink. While I was in there I thought, ‘My luck can’t get any worse, so why not get a scratch-off ticket?’”

Savvas picked a $5 ticket from the $400,000 Bonus Cash game and saw his luck had turned around when he scratched off a $400,000 top prize.

“I flipped out,” Savvas said. “I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was dreaming. I had to look at the ticket 50 or 60 times.”

He drove straight to lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Thursday to claim his prize. After required state and federal tax withholdings, he took home $276,067. He plans to use some of the money to pay bills and help his sister with her car.

“If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have gotten the ticket.” Savvas said. “She’s my good luck charm.”

$400,000 Bonus Cash launched in July 2016. Savvas claimed the last top prize, which means the lottery will take steps to end the game.

Ticket sales from games like $400,000 Bonus Cash make it possible for the lottery to raise more than half a billion dollars a year for education.