RIVERVIEW — Valerie Duplechain, 64, is one in 3 million.
Those were the odds for the Riverview resident to win the Lucky $200,000 a Year for Life Scratch-Off game. She chose a $2,957,306.00 one-time payment instead of $4 million paid out over 20 years.
About two weeks ago, Duplechain purchased her winning scratch-off ticket at a 7-Eleven on the corner of Bloomingdale Avenue and Providence Road in Riverview, a store employee said.
Ashlee Callahan, a clerk at the store, sold Duplechain the $20 ticket and watched her walk to the trash can outside to scratch it off. Duplechain re-entered the store and asked her to check if there was a comma or a period after the first digit.
Callahan scratched around it and saw the $4,000,000.
"I was so surprised. I thought it was a joke," said Callahan, 18. "But it wasn't."
She verified the ticket in the computer. The words "Congratulations, you are one of the big winners" popped up on the screen.
Callahan said Duplechain often stops at the store at the end of her workday to buy some of the more expensive scratch-off tickets and has continued playing since her win last week.
"I think she wants to win another big one," Callahan said. "You see people play all the time, and you never think anything of it."
The Florida Lottery verified the ticket on June 16.
Duplechain, who lives in a Riverview apartment near the 7-Eleven, could not be reached at her home for comment.
While the store doesn't receive a commission from scratch-off wins, Duplechain gave Callahan $20 for her help.
Duplechain is the fourth winner of the scratch-off game's grand prize. The other three winners were from Dunedin, Ocala and North Fort Myers. Six grand prize tickets remain.
Biz Carson can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 661-2441.