Ed Yoder of Goshen stopped at the Shell Pak-A-Sak on West Pike Street Wednesday afternoon to buy a couple Powerball tickets.
“I occasionally buy a ticket when the amount gets a little higher,” Yoder said. “I have no plans if I win. I’ll just have to wait and see.”
Yoder wasn’t alone in the Powerball purchasing pool Wednesday.
As Americans went on a ticket-buying spree, the Powerball jackpot rose to $550 million Wednesday, enticing many people who rarely, if ever, play the lottery to purchase a shot at the second-largest payout in U.S. history.
The Pak-A-Sak store was empty at 4:10 p.m. when Yoder bought his ticket. It gave employee Jennifer Studt an opportunity to get caught up on her cigarette count before people got out of work and stopped in to buy tickets, she said.
“It’s very, very busy on Powerball day,” Studt said. “A lot of people came in that don’t know how to play or never played before, but they all are playing today.”
Darlene Oesch of Goshen said at the Pak-A-Sak she hoped to be buying the winning ticket.
“I don’t buy regularly, just when it gets to this amount,” Oesch said. “I hope to help my family if I win.”
Penny Massengill of Goshen stopped at the Goshen Marathon station on West Clinton Street at about 4:30 p.m. There were a few customers buying tickets when she arrived.
“I have no plans if I win but I’m not going to tell anybody if I win right away,” Massengill said. “I don’t want it published right away.”
Marathon employee Feisal Habib was behind the counter selling Powerball tickets Wednesday.
“The whole day has been busy,” he said, as Jonathan Brimhall of Goshen waited to get his ticket.
Brimhall was hoping he had the winning ticket in his hand.
“I need it,” he said.
Powerball tickets were selling at a rate of 130,000 a minute nationwide Wednesday — about six times the volume from a week ago. The jackpot had already rolled over 16 consecutive times without a winner.
Lamar Fallie, a jobless Chicago man who said his six tickets conjured a pleasant daydream: If he wins, he plans to take care of his church, make big donations to schools and then “retire from being unemployed.”
Yvette Gavin, who sold the tickets to Fallie, is only an occasional lottery player herself, but the huge jackpot meant she would definitely play this time. As for the promises she often gets from ticket purchasers, Gavin wasn’t holding her breath.
“A lot of customers say if they win they will take care of me, but I will have to wait and see,” she said.
In Philadelphia, seafood salesman Billy Fulginiti bought 50 Powerball tickets with co-workers and a few more with a small group. He said he only plays when the jackpot is especially large.
“You go to bed at night wishing you wake up a millionaire,” Fulginiti said. He planned to take a long vacation and “help a lot of people, a lot of charities,” if any of his tickets turn out to be winners.