A Fresno man had a lot to celebrate with his friends at a doughnut shop when he instantly became a millionaire on one of the California Lottery’s newest Scratchers tickets, Deluxe 7’s Playbook.
Kenneth Tatum, 78, a self-employed handyman, bought the winning ticket at a Valero gas station at 1105 W. Shields Ave. in central Fresno on Sunday where he stopped to get gas. Tatum said he stops at that gas station at least four times a week. The store will receive a $5,000 retailer bonus for selling the ticket.
Tatum bought the ticket at 6:45 a.m. and matched two numbers on the last page of the six-page Scratchers book 15 minutes later to win.
“When I scratched it I thought it was $10,000,” Tatum said. “Then I realized it was a million dollars and couldn’t believe it. I was a bit shaky.”
He was enjoying a cup of coffee with his friends at a doughnut shop he has visited for about 20 years when he won. He said he got excited and had to calm down to sign the ticket.
“My friends were happy for me and thought I was kidding until I showed them,” he said.
When I scratched it I thought it was $10,000. Then I realized it was a million dollars and couldn’t believe it. I was a bit shaky.
Kenneth Tatum, lottery winner from Fresno
Tatum said he plays scratchers all the time. Last February he won $5,000 at the same Valero gas station. However, his second biggest win was about 15 years ago when he won $10,000 from a lottery ticket purchased at a Clovis liquor store.
“I do service work and repairs and I travel all over Fresno,” he said. “When I stop to fill up I buy scratchers. Sometimes I stop and just get scratchers and don’t get gas.”
Tatum plans to put the money in savings and build a financial nest egg. He also said he plans to send money to his great-granddaughters, who live out of state, and put some of his winnings in a living trust for them and his daughters.
As a handyman, Tatum said he has a ’95 Ford van but rather than buy a new car, he is going to buy four new tires, keep the old ones as spares and “just get back to work.”
Mandeep Sekhon has been store owner of the Valero gas station since January and said people buy scratchers all the time, especially Tatum who he sees several times a week.
“He’s a daily morning person,” Sekhon said. “I wasn’t there but I think he came back and told our clerk that he had sold him a winning ticket.”
Sekhon said Tatum is a nice guy and he gave the clerk a copy of the winning ticket to post in the store.
“We think it’s a lucky store,” Sekhon said. “Come in, buy more and win more.”
Tatum’s win occurred just one week after Catalina Deniston, 41, of Clovis won $1 million on a lottery scratcher from Gong’s Market in Sanger.
California Lottery spokesman Greg Parashak said it’s not often that two people from the same place win $1 million within days of one another.
“Maybe in L.A. or San Francisco it obviously can happen,” Parashak said. “Fresno is very active in terms of winners.”
Nicole Santos: 559-441-6247, @Iam_NicoleS