B. Raymond Buxton was the lone lucky person to buy a winning ticket for the $425 million jackpot in the Powerball lottery's Feb. 19 drawing.
The only people he reportedly told about his good fortune until Tuesday were the lawyers and financial advisers he enlisted to help him get prepared and to set up a charitable foundation.
Then yesterday, he collected his $242 million "cash option" from California lottery officials with a bit of a sense of humor. Not only did Buxton intentionally choose April Fools' Day, but he came dressed in a T-shirt bearing the likeness of Star Wars' Yoda and the words "Luck of the Jedi, I Have."
Then when he posed for photos, he wouldn't quite show himself. Instead, he playfully held the oversized check in front of his face. Nothing was revealed about his age, his life or his hometown.
"He really wants to live a private life as best he can," Buxton's publicist Sam Singer told The Associated Press. "He was a solidly middle-class American, and today he is a solidly wealthy one."
The California lottery did release some words from the big winner:
" 'Unbelievable! is all I could muster,' Buxton said as he described the moment he found out he hit the jackpot. 'I sat in front of the computer for hours in disbelief, frequently checking and rechecking the numbers across multiple sources. Once the initial shock passed I couldn't sleep for days.'
"He couldn't sleep and he apparently didn't talk. When asked who was the first person he told about the jackpot, Buxton replied, 'Nobody. Sitting on a ticket of this value was very scary. It's amazing how a little slip of paper can change your life.' "
Lottery officials add that:
"Buxton took his time coming forward because he wanted to do things by the book, literally. 'While validating the numbers at the CA Lottery website, I came across the Winner's Handbook and started to put a plan in motion.' He started doing his research and said, 'It took over a week to solidify legal and financial representation.' With a team in place, Buxton claimed his prize and elected to take the cash option, which is an estimated lump sum amount of $242.2 million before federal taxes.
"Now that the hard part is over, Buxton will use some of his winnings to travel. He also plans to give back in a big way. 'I'm going to enjoy my new job setting up a charitable foundation focused on areas of pediatric health, child hunger and education.' "
Impressed, we are, his thinking by.