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4 Fast Facts

  • A Fort Wayne man who went to buy dinner stopped and bought a winning lottery ticket worth $1 million
  • His wife originally thought it was a late April Fools’ joke
  • The couple’s pregnant daughter fainted when she heard the news
  • The couple will give some of the money to their church and invest the rest

FORT WAYNE (April 11, 2016) – An Indiana man made a last-minute decision to buy a lottery ticket last week, and it paid off in a big way.

Ernie Johnson’s wife, Sherill, sent him out to buy something for dinner on Saturday, April 2. On this way, he decided to stop for a lottery ticket at Get 2 Go, 3505 Wayne Trace, in Fort Wayne. That decision earned him $1 million from a scratch-off ticket.

He quickly forgot about picking up dinner.

“I turned around and went back home,” Johnson said. “Winning a million dollars delayed our appetite.”

His wife thought her husband may have been trying to pull a late April Fools’ joke on her after he said the “$120 Million Cash Spectacular” ticket was a winner.

“Is this real? It was so close to April Fools’ Day that I didn’t believe him at first,” Sherill Johnson recalled.

She wasn’t the only one surprised by the news. When the couple shared their good fortune with family the next day, their pregnant daughter fainted.

“She was OK. We were at my grandchild’s birthday party, and it was at a firehouse in a room you can use for public events, so the paramedics were right there,” Ernie said. “She was fine within a couple minutes, so it’s all good now.”

Ernie is a retired Navistar engineer and Sherill is a retired social worker. They have two grown daughters and two grandchildren with a third on the way. They plan to give some of their winnings to their church and are consulting a financial expert to invest the rest.

The Johnsons are the fourth $1 million winners in the game since 2013. The odds of winning the “$120 Million Cash Spectacular” game are 1 in more than 2 million. Tickets cost $10.