Like so many people with working-class jobs, Marty McArthur, a plumber from Colonial Heights, Virginia, dreamed of winning the lottery.
Every day on the way to work, he would stop at the local Kangaroo Express for a cup of coffee. But one morning, he bought himself something extra: a scratch-off lottery ticket.
The Virginia Lottery’s “Million $$ Match” game had a top prize of one million dollars—although you had a one-in-a-million shot at winning. The ticket cost $10.
Marty was feeling lucky. He scratched the ticket off right then and there, parked in his truck.
To win, he needed one of his numbers to match the “winning numbers” at the top. If he did, he’d win the amount listed under that number.
Then, Marty had a match—and he was stunned when he realized what happened.
He won the jackpot.
Marty won the top million dollar prize, and he couldn’t believe it.
“I was kind of stunned for a minute,” he told the Virginia Lottery.
He immediately got his wife on the phone, and at first she was concerned about his frantic tone.
“She thought I’d been in a wreck or something.”
But it’s what Marty did next that’s really unexpected.
Most of us have some idea of what we’d do first if we won the lottery—go celebrate, make an extravagant purchase, abruptly quit our jobs and tell off our bosses, etc.
But this new millionaire had something else in mind.
He went straight to his plumbing job.
Most people in his position would never touch a plunger again. But Marty knew he had a job to do, and rich man or not, it was his responsibility. Winning the lottery really changes some people—others, not so much.
“I couldn’t leave them hanging,” he later explained.
In the end, Marty walked away with of $561,798 cash—opting for the one-time sum rather than the full million paid out over 30 years.
And as you might expect, he seems to be pretty responsible with his financial planning. The winnings will first go to pay off their mortgage, and then maybe he’ll treat his wife to a new car.