HAMMOND — A Chicago man who used some extra cash in his pocket to purchase $10 in lottery tickets last month at a Hammond tobacco shop is now a millionaire after his numbers matched all five white balls in the May 15 Powerball drawing.
Stilianos Kyriakakis, 59, told the Hoosier Lottery he plans to share his $1 million Powerball prize with his two children, Nikoletta and Georgios.
"I always told them that if I ever won the lottery, I would split it three ways. I'm happy to keep my word," Stilianos said.
He has no immediate plans for spending his remaining share of the windfall. Nikoletta said she expects to use the money for her daughter and to attend nursing school, while Georgios is planning to save his for the future and see where life takes him.
Stilianos immigrated to the United States in 1973 from the island of Crete and became a citizen in 1979. He said he fell in love with Chicago, and especially the White Sox, and has lived in the city ever since.
He bought the winning lottery ticket at State Line Tobacco and Vape, 5 Gostlin St., Hammond, shortly before the May 15 drawing.
A few days later he went back to the store to get gas and coffee, and to scan his Powerball ticket to see if he was a winner.
An unusual message popped up on the machine: "Please claim at lottery."
"I didn't think anything of it and put the ticket back in my wallet and drove home," he said.
Then he decided to look up his Powerball numbers online and was shocked at what he saw — "I just kept checking the numbers over and over again and couldn’t believe what I was looking at."
Stilianos won the game's second-highest prize by matching the five white balls but not the red Powerball. Hitting all six numbers would have paid $183 million.
He told the Hoosier Lottery the first thing he did was call his adult children and tell them to come to the house right away.
His daughter noticed his mood and jokingly asked if he won the lottery. He smiled and showed them the winning ticket. He then told his children he would keep his promise of splitting the money with them.
The Hammond tobacco shop also is due to receive a $10,000 bonus from the Hoosier Lottery for selling the $1 million winning ticket.