Mang Wong was on a crowded train to work when he scratched off a $3 million winner playing Instant Millionaire.
It was a ticket he bought from the Shell mini-mart on Route 112 in North Patchogue.
“I looked at the winning ticket twice, and I had no reaction,” Wong said. “There were 5,000 people on the train, and I wasn’t 100 percent sure what I had won.”
The first chance he got, he raced to the nearest ticket scanner.
It displayed: BIG WINNER.
“Then when I got home, my wife and I looked at the ticket together, and I finally realized it was worth $3 million,” Wong told officials with the New York State Lottery, who announced his winnings Thursday.
“I was hoping and praying he won,” said Shell employee Reza Ahan, who said Wong lives in the neighborhood behind the Shell station and would stop by daily to play a scratchoff or two.
“And then he stopped coming, so I had a feeling he won,” Ahan said. “He’s such a nice guy; I’m so happy for him.”
Ahan said the winner was ticket No. 25, which had hung from the rack for about five or six days before Wong snatched it up.
“Everyone was buying everything else, except for No. 25,” he said, adding the store employees found out the next day they had sold a $3 million winner because an alert came over on the Lottery machine.
“I’m just glad it was someone we know and not a stranger,” Ahan said.
Wong, who works in import/export sales, told Lottery officials he rarely plays Instant Millionaire.
“I have no idea why I bought this ticket,” he said. “I bought a Cashword ticket and then decided to buy one of the Instant Millionaire tickets.”
He chose to receive his winnings in annual payments of $150,000 per year. After required withholdings, that’s good for $99,270 every year for the next 20 years, Lottery officials said.
He said he plans to use the prize money to pay off his mortgage and help his family.
Photo: Nisar Ahmad and Reza Ahan at the Shell station on Route 112 Thursday. (Michael White)