Dustin Uran describes himself as an “eternal optimist.”
“That’s probably why I’m a Vikings fan,” he said.
Since 2013 that optimism and a shot at winning big have motivated Uran to organize a lottery pool at the Coon Rapids office of Adams Publishing Group (the parent company of ABC Newspapers), where he works in the production department.
This week his optimism was rewarded; one of the tickets he purchased for the pool won $1 million in the Powerball.
Although the drawing took place Saturday, Jan. 25, Uran didn’t realize he had a winner until Monday morning.
As usual, he went to the gas station and started scanning in the tickets to claim any prizes. When he scanned one ticket, the machine said “winner” and instructed him to contact the lottery office to claim the prize.
“I thought maybe it was a glitch,” he said.
So he scanned it again.
That’s when his heart started racing.
“I came back to the office, and I checked the numbers on the website, and I saw that was a million dollar ticket,” he said.
The ticket’s first five numbers matched the drawing — only the Powerball didn’t match.
Rather than simply tell everyone in the pool they had won, Uran sent an email saying to check the bottom left ticket on the email so they could discover it themselves.
“I was kind of just pacing around my cube, waiting for people to check their emails,” he said. “Slowly but surely, everyone else realized, and then the office was abuzz. ... No one could believe it.”
“It’s one of those things that comes once in a lifetime,” ABC Newspapers sales representative Jan Thompson said.
With 28 people in the pool, $1 million works out to almost $36,000 apiece before taxes.
Thompson said she has a couple vacations planned but also expects to use some of the money for practical projects.
“It’s still hard to believe,” sales representative Colleen Carlisle said. She plans to pay down debt and put some money in savings, but she’ll probably also buy an entertainment center she and her husband have wanted.
As for his share, Uran said he’ll pay off some bills, and beyond that, he doesn’t know.
“It’s not retirement money,” he said. “But it’s good.”
Uran purchased the winning ticket at the Speedway at 11872 Round Lake Blvd. NW, Coon Rapids. The group claimed the prize at the Minnesota Lottery office in Roseville Tuesday, Jan. 28.
Uran plans to continue buying tickets and keep the office pool going whenever the jackpot is high.
He expects more people will join now.