A $20 gamble at a local liquor store paid off handsomely for a Huntington Beach couple this week when a single lottery scratcher ticket netted them $5 million.
Craig Skwarczynski bought two tickets from Surf City Liquor at 20972 Brookhurst St. on Wednesday before returning home and giving his wife, Kendra, one of the “Hit it Big Scratchers.”
The pair recounted the sudden windfall to California Lottery officials.
The couple said they have long viewed playing the lottery as a fun hobby that occasionally rewards them with winnings in the hundreds of dollars.
When Kendra scratched the ticket to reveal the $5-million win, she was calm and “just kinda passed it over to [Craig] to make sure I’m reading it right,” she said.
Craig wasn’t as stoic. “I was the one flipping out and crying,” he said. “As soon as I saw it, I was emotional to say the least.”
He told lottery officials his main thought was for his family to be cared for and happy.
The couple could not be reached for further comment, and more information about them was unavailable.
The Skwarczynskis have the option of receiving an annuity paying $200,000 per year for 25 years or a lump-sum payment of $2.9 million before taxes.
Surf City Liquor will receive a $25,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket, according to lottery officials.
The odds of winning the “Hit It Big Scratchers” top prize is one in more than 3 million, according to the lottery.
Craig suggested buying his wife a castle with their new fortune, but Kendra’s vision is less grandiose.
“I just want a simple, clean house with matching furniture,” she said.