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$1 million winning Mega Millions ticket sold in Davenport

A screen shows the estimated lottery jackpots at the Johnson Avenue Hy-Vee in Cedar Rapids on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
A screen shows the estimated lottery jackpots at the Johnson Avenue Hy-Vee in Cedar Rapids on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

A $1 million Mega Millions ticket was sold at a Hy-Vee gas station in Davenport, and workers at the store have their fingers firmly crossed as they await word on the winner.

The manager of the Elmore Avenue gas station and the store manager for the nearby Hy-Vee grocery store had the same reaction Wednesday morning: They hope the winner is a regular.

The winning Iowa ticket is one of 36 nationwide to match all numbers except the Mega Ball in Tuesday’s drawing for a record $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot. Only one ticket, sold in South Carolina, matched all the numbers — 5, 28, 62, 65 and 70, with a Mega Ball of 5. In South Carolina, the person who hit the jackpot can opt to remain anonymous.

Davenport gas station manager Nicole Bulva said she became aware of the windfall around 6 a.m. Wednesday.

“I noticed this morning that we sold it, and I admit I looked at the ticket I bought right away,” she said. “I can’t wait to see who it is. I have a lot of regulars.”

Iowa Lottery officials were on their way Wednesday to Davenport to review sales receipts and security video from the mini-convenience store. And Hy-Vee store manager Jason Busswitz said he knew just what to expect.

He worked for Hy-Vee in Cedar Rapids in 2012 when 20 co-workers from the nearby Quaker Oats factory shared a $241 million payday.

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“Nicole notified me first thing this morning,” Busswitz said. “This is the second time for me. I hope it’s someone who’s local and one of our regulars.”

Asked whether a big winner results in more sales, Busswitz said it can, “especially with people who are superstitious.”

Bulva has worked at the store for 23 years and knows many of her customers well. One such customer walked in around 11 a.m. Wednesday, and his first words to her were, “It wasn’t me.”

Busswitz said he doesn’t yet know what the store’s bonus percentage will be for selling a big winner. Either way, he said, it’s good for the store.

“Hy-Vee’s mission is making people’s lives easier, healthier and happier, and, in this case, wealthier,” he said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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