Carol Davis and Conrad Rask became good friends about a decade ago when they discovered they shared a common interest: playing the lottery.
Rask frequents the Carol Stream restaurant where Davis works, and together, they regularly scratch off instant tickets on her breaks.
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One day Rask suggested they play the Lotto together, splitting the $1 cost of a Quick Pick ticket.
Last month, it paid off, when Rask said he was checking the Lotto numbers in the Daily Herald and realized he and Davis were winners of a $7.4 million jackpot.
They've previously won anywhere from $500 to $1,000 on scratch-off tickets, so when Davis got a call from Rask the morning after the April 29 Lotto drawing, she wasn't expecting they had won anything substantial.
"He called me at 7:20 in morning and said, 'You better sit down,' but he always says that," said Davis, who was driving to work. "He said, 'I think we just won $7.4 million.' I said, 'Are you sure?' And he said, 'Unless the newspaper printed it wrong.'"
So Rask went to the convenience store where he buys his lottery tickets, Payless Tobacco at 1485 Fair Oaks Road in Carol Stream, and scanned his ticket on the lottery machine. Indeed, it matched all six numbers from the Lotto drawing the night before.
Rask said he never told anyone about it until Friday, when the Illinois Lottery issued a news release announcing their jackpot.
"I never told anybody. Now everybody knows," Rask said.
The store where Rask bought the winning Lotto ticket will receive a bonus of $74,000, lottery officials said.
Rask and Davis plan to split the winnings down the middle.
Davis, 55, the manager of Manhattan's American Bar & Grill in Carol Stream and owner of a Carol Stream-based residential and commercial cleaning company, said she plans to pay her bills, buy a new car, share her winnings with family, and invest. But she doesn't plan to give up either job.
"I'll probably slow down ... but it hasn't hit me yet," Davis said.
Rask, an 84-year-old retired electrician who lives in an unincorporated area near West Chicago, said he will share the money with family and invest some of it. And, he added, he doesn't plan to stop playing the lottery anytime soon.
"I play it all the time," he said.