Ponte Vedra man wins big lottery prize, gives back | News

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Ponte Vedra man wins big lottery prize, gives back

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. -- Michael Tracey and his girlfriend Missy Starkey spent the day Wednesday car shopping.

They started at Lexus, but weren't totally sold on anything when we met up there.

It's a decision they probably wouldn't be making today, if not for some wild circumstances Sunday.

"Well, we went to the Jaguars game and then had dinner with her parents," Tracey said. 

For many that would be just a minor detail in a Sunday evening's plans. 

But each piece of the night was integral to the win that was about to come for him.

After dinner, Michael and Missy hit the road back to their Ponte Vedra home.

"We were almost home and she's like, I want some beer," he remembered.

So, after putting up a bit of resistance, he stopped at the Kangaroo Station at A1A and Marlin in Ponte Vedra. It was the best decision he made in a while.

"I went in, got the beer, and wanted to buy one of the $25 scratch off tickets," he said.

The clerk told him they were out of his particular brand. Michael says he plays the lottery around three or four times a week.

So he settled for the $20 Goldrush game.

"I took it home and that's when things got a little crazy," he said.

The ticket was a winner for $500,000.

"I couldn't talk for like 10 to 15 minutes," he said. "And I was like, 'baby, what would you do if I told you I won half a million,' and she said, 'stop being stupid.'"

She didn't believe him, but after checking it several times reality set in.

He took it back up to the clerk who sold him the ticket and had him scan it.

"It was real," he said. "And the clerk asked if he could take his picture with me."

Instead, Michael got his name and number and had a plan.

"I said I would come back and surprise him with $5,000."

The clerk at the Kangaroo Station didn't want to be on TV or interviewed, but Michael said he was in his early 20s, and in for the surprise of a lifetime.

As far as the rest of the money goes, the bartender and waiter said he wasn't going to quit his job but just take a couple weeks off.

He decided to buy a pre-owned Lexus and was going to save a good bit of the rest.

"So many things came into play for this to happen," he said. "It still baffles me."


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