REGIONAL: Gastonia grandfather ‘couldn’t speak right’ after $200,000 win

RALEIGH – Randy Stroud of Gastonia felt thirsty on Saturday morning so he stopped for a drink, added a $5 scratch-off ticket and then went speechless when he uncovered a $200,000 surprise.

“My mouth couldn’t speak right,” Stroud said. “I could barely talk to the girl in the store.”

Stroud said he rarely buys tickets but, after stopping for a Coke Zero at the Lowell Mini Mart on McAdenville Road in Lowell, something about the Gold Standard scratch-off ticket called to him.

“I looked at it and it just said, ‘Pick me,’” he said. “So, I did.”

Stroud, a grandfather of three boys, recalled the moment he told his eldest grandson about his win.

“He had a big huge grin, he reached over and bearhugged me,” Stroud said. “He said, ‘We are blessed Papa.’ I said, ‘Yep, you are right.’”

Stroud collected his prize Monday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh and, after required federal and state withholdings, took home $142,501.

“You always see the big numbers and you always go, ‘Man wouldn’t that be nice,’ ” he said. “You think that is never going to happen but it happened. It just absolutely happened.”

He said he wants to use the winnings to help do some home repairs as well as continue his efforts in restoring a 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

Ticket sales from scratch-off games make it possible for the lottery to raise $2.5 million a day on average for education. For details on how $14.9 million raised by the lottery made a difference in Gaston County last year, visit www.nclottery.com and click on the “Impact” section.