LANSING, September 9, 2002 – When Jessee Bays Jr. married his wife, Julie, just one short week ago, he never dreamed they would become instant millionaires! Bays was the only Mega Millions player in 10 states to correctly match all six winning numbers in the September 6, 2002 Mega Millions drawing. The winning numbers for that drawing were: 31, 39, 42, 49, 51 and the Gold Mega Ball number was 35.
The jackpot that night was worth $17 million, but Bays opted to collect his prize in one lump-sum payment of $10,071,089. The lucky man purchased the winning Mega Millions "easy pick" ticket at Mother Hubbard #2, 2871 E. Paris SE, in Kentwood.
"I always buy Lottery tickets at the same Mother Hubbard store, which is on my way to work," Bays said. "I wasn’t supposed to be working that day because I was on my honeymoon. I ended up working that day because they were busy and needed extra help. It is so weird to think that had I not been called in that day I would not have purchased a Mega Millions ticket at that store because I live on the other side of town."
Bays saw the winning numbers on the news the night of the drawing. After seeing the numbers he went to get his ticket so he could check it right away.
"I wrote down the numbers from the newscast and then went to get my ticket," the winner said.
"I was absolutely shocked when I saw I had matched all six numbers! I didn’t believe it at first. I drove to the nearest gas station to pick up a winning number report so I could double-check the ticket. That is when I realized I really had won the jackpot. When I got home I ran through the house screaming!"
Prior to turning the winning Mega Millions ticket in at Lottery headquarters in Lansing, Bays said he kept it in his pocket at all times and he slept at night with his clothes on!
"I am absolutely thrilled for Mr. Bays," Acting Lottery Commissioner James Kipp said. "It’s been a true pleasure to meet with Michigan’s newest multi-millionaire and share in his excitement!"
Bays, a factory worker who enjoys playing basketball and described himself as a "sports fanatic," said he plans to use part of his winnings to buy a new house, purchase new cars for himself and his wife, share with his family and invest the rest for the future.
"I always thought I would win the Lottery one day, but it still came as a huge surprise," Bays said. "I am very excited about winning, but am not going to let the money change who I am. I am not going to quit my job. In fact, I am going back to work tomorrow!"
The last Big Game drawing took place on Tuesday, May 14, 2002. On Wednesday, May 15, 2002, The Big Game was replaced by Mega Millions. Mega Millions is a multistate lottery game in Michigan, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Washington. Wagers cost $1 each and tickets may be purchased at more than 7,000 Michigan Lottery retailers statewide.
Mega Millions drawings are conducted every Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m. The next Mega Millions drawing is Tuesday, September 10, with a guaranteed jackpot of $10 million. For more information about Mega Millions, visit the Michigan Lottery’s Web site at www.michigan.gov/lottery or the Mega Millions Web site at www.megamillions.com.
# # #