A $10 ticket and a $1 million smile

A scratch-off lottery ticket like this one revealed a $1 million prize for a first-time player. The 29-year-old man, who chose not to be identified, walked away with $680,000 after state and federal taxes were deducted at the claim center.

No one suspected that the man at the state lottery claim center on Monday was holding a $1 million ticket.

He walked out of the Mount Pleasant office less than 30 minutes later with a check in his hand, a tear in his eye and a smile on his face.

S.C. Education Lottery officials said the quiet, humble 29-year-old arrived with his mother at the claim center on West Coleman Boulevard just before 10 a.m. He waited until everyone else had cleared out of the lobby and then walked up to the counter, handed over the $10 Carolina Millionaire Club scratch-off ticket and said, "Am I reading this right?"

Against all odds, the regular customer at the Kwik Fill in Hanahan bought a lottery ticket for the first time in his life Saturday and won $1 million, lottery officials said.

"He had to wait all weekend to get his money," claim assistant Nancy Santiago said.

She said the man requested anonymity and didn't even leave a phone number.

"He said he was from a small town, and he didn't want any publicity," Santiago said.

The man hardly said a word, except that he wanted to pay off his student loans.

The lottery subtracted 7 percent for state taxes and 25 percent for federal taxes and cut the man a $680,000 check, and he left.

"He had a little tear in his eye at the end," Santiago said. "But he walked out with a smile on his face."

Sam Adgani, owner of the Kwik Fill, received a $10,000 selling bonus.

"Now I can pay for my air conditioner," said Adgani, adding that he recently had to replace the unit, and it cost him $30,000.

Adgani said the store on Yeamans Hall Road sells about $5,000 in tickets each week.