Wesley Martin was reading the Daily Herald in his kitchen Sept. 27 when something caught his eye. He made his way downstairs to double check online that what he had seen was true.
Then, as his wife, Margaret, tells it, Wesley -- who normally walks with two canes -- raced up the stairs and out the door.
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The 66-year-old Palatine man was in a hurry because he had just seen the winning Lotto numbers. The couple had won $3.7 million.
"He called from the car and said, 'Can I afford to bring Whoppers home for lunch?'" Margaret related. "I told him, 'You can afford to buy the restaurant.'"
The Martins returned Thursday to the Meijer in Rolling Meadows where they bought the winning ticket. They were presented with the official Illinois Lottery check and celebrated with store employees.
Wesley said he's been buying lottery tickets for 20 years and he's even won before, $20 here or $30 there, but this Quick Pick ticket was his luckiest purchase yet.
"I was stunned. I just checked the numbers again and again," he said.
That Daily Herald listing is now laminated and in the family scrapbook. The oversized check presented to couple Thursday morning has a spot waiting for it on the fireplace mantel.
The Martins are taking the one-time cash payout, a sum of about $2.8 million before taxes, but they said the money really won't change their lives all that much.
The two will keep living in their home in Palatine where they've been for more than 40 years, a home Wesley's family built from the ground up. Their sons Patrick, 37, and Christopher, 33, will keep living there too, helping their disabled parents get around.
"We can't do it without them so they're not going anywhere," Margaret said.
The first order of business: Pay off the mortgage and credit card bills.
After that Wesley said he and Margaret, 65, would like to take an Alaskan or Hawaiian cruise but admits their disabilities may make that difficult.
Just because he won the big bucks this time doesn't mean Wesley is done playing the odds however -- he bought another ticket at Meijer on Thursday morning before the check presentation.
"Why not keep trying?" he said.
The biggest change the money will make is the relief from stress that comes with medical bills and planning for their future, he said.
"If we both have to end up in a nursing home, this will help," Wesley said. "It's just going to help us live a more comfortable life."
After being presented with their official check from the Illinois Lottery, Margaret said it would be back to life as usual.
"We have a few errands to run and we'll pick up lunch on the way home, just everyday life," she said.