A North Carolina man decided to buy a lottery ticket after enjoying pancakes for breakfast with his granddaughter on Palm Sunday, a week before Easter, lottery officials said Thursday.
He won a prize of $25,000-a-year for life and gave it all to his granddaughter, a 22-year-old Catholic school teacher-to-be, state lottery officials said in a news release.
“I knew if I ever won anything big, I would share it,” Peter Beckage told lottery officials Wednesday after claiming his prize with his granddaughter at lottery headquarters in Raleigh, according to the news release. “I’m happy with the little wins, and I’m so happy this is a gift I can give to her.”
His granddaughter, Kelly Thomas of Clemmons, plans to use the gift to pay for tuition, books and food at UNC-Wilmington as she studies to become an elementary school teacher, lottery officials said in the release.
“To be able to focus on something I’m passionate about, thanks to my grandpa, is an amazing gift,” she told lottery officials. “I’ve always dreamed of being a Catholic school teacher and helping people. This money makes it possible for me.”
Her 85-year-old grandfather bought the winning Lucky for Life ticket at Carlton’s Hampton Road Grocery in Clemmons on April 14, officials said.
Lucky for Life is one of his “go-to games,” according to the release. Beckage recently moved in with his daughter to be close to family, lottery officials said.
He stayed up late for the drawing. “When I got all five, I couldn’t believe it,” he told lottery officials. “I had a hard time getting back to sleep I was so excited.”
The next morning, he “couldn’t focus on his prayers,” according to the release. He texted his daughter about his wish to give the prize to her daughter, and they then waited for Thomas to come home.
“Kelly, how would you like to have $25,000 a year for the rest of your life?” he asked her when she stepped through the door, lottery officials reported. “Oh my gosh, Grandpa, did you win the lottery?” she replied.
Beckage and Thomas traveled together to lottery headquarters. Winners are guaranteed $25,000 a year for life, or offer the option of a $390,000 lump sum. With the annuity option, Thomas received her first annual payment, which came to $17,688 after taxes, lottery officials said.
The family beat odds of one in 1.8 million, officials with the NC Education Lottery said.