LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KFSM) — A Hot Springs man was stunned after learning he won a half-million-dollar prize while playing a scratch-off.
Stephen Turpen, 72, bought the 200X Payout scratch-off ticket Saturday (Sept. 28) at the Valero/Corner Store on Hwy. 7 in Hot Springs.
He said at first he thought he had won $500, only to realize it was $500,000.
“Then I scratched off a comma and more zeros. I was elated. I was very happy. But I didn’t jump up and down or anything,” Turpen said. “I’m just not that kind of guy. I walked back into the store and had the clerk scan the ticket. I signed it. Then I took it home and put it in the safe.”
Turpen says he and his other veteran friends have been having coffee together every morning at that Valero store ever since it was robbed six years ago.
“It was early one morning, and the older woman who worked there was scared to death,” Turpen said. “We’re just a group of local guys who have coffee together and try to keep the place a little safer. No one is gonna mess with a group of veterans.”
Turpen says he’s been playing the lottery all his life, but he’s never won an amount this big.
He plans to pay off a little debt and put the rest in savings. He says that his life won’t change too much though.
“I may buy a three-wheeler bike,” Turpen says with a wink. “But it’s up to momma,” he said, referencing his wife.
When asked if he plans to have coffee at the Valero tomorrow morning, Turpen said, “Oh yes, I was there this morning, too!”
Turpen claimed the $500,000 prize at the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Claim Center in Little Rock Monday (Sept. 30).