NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Blame it on the rain.
The Manhattan man in possession of a Powerball ticket worth $343.9 million came forward Wednesday to claim his prize, the largest jackpot in New York Lottery history.
Robert Bailey, 67, a retired federal employee, said chance — and the weather — sent him to the West Harlem Deli on Fifth Avenue not long before the Oct. 27 drawing.
He chose the lump sum payment and will take home a little more than $125 million after taxes, CBS2’s Clark Fouraker reported.
“A family member gave me the numbers over 25 years ago and I faithfully play them,” Bailey said. “I buy my tickets at three or four different different stores. It was raining that day so I went to the deli to get out of the rain and I bought my ticket there.”
Bailey said he checked his ticket online after the drawing and was shocked by what he saw.
“I said to myself, ‘These look like my numbers.’ I tried to remain calm and sat down to watch some shows I had on my DVR. I didn’t sleep the rest of the night,” he said.
The winning numbers were 8, 12, 13, 19, 27 and the Powerball 4. Bailey split the $687 million jackpot with 51-year-old Lerynne West, of Iowa.
Bailey was presented his winnings Wednesday by Yolanda Vega of the New York Lottery at Resorts World Casino in the city. He said he took his time coming forward because he needed to contact a lawyer and financial adviser for advice.
“I’m blessed,” Bailey said. “I’m still somewhat in shock. I’m happy. I’m taking my time.”
So what’s next for Bailey?
“I’m gonna get a house, especially for my mother. God bless her, she’s still around,” Bailey said. “I definitely want to travel a little bit and hopefully I make some good investments that will work for me and my family.”
He said he also plans to keep playing the lottery.
“It’s a good life-changer. I plan to do the right thing with the money,” Bailey said. “I will continue to playing my numbers until this train runs out.”
One New Yorker offered a suggestion on what Bailey should do with his fortune.
“Get it back to the schools. Get it back to the hospitals, back to the community centers,” West Harlem Deli shopper Walter Oterro said. “Yes, it would be a very good thing for that person to do.”