Until Saturday, it was just another 7-Eleven, tucked away among an African hair-braiding shop, a liquor store and a check-cashing outlet on busy Liberty Road in Baltimore County. That’s when state officials announced that a very lucky person, or persons, bought a winning ticket Friday evening for the $640 million Mega Millions jackpot.
The announcement turned the convenience store near Randallstown into a shrine for TV satellite trucks, sightseers and million-dollar hopefuls.
“This may be the lucky store,” said Cornell Hicks, 53, of Randallstown, one of those who stopped by Saturday to buy a scratch-and-play card. He said he bought a ticket for the Mega Millions drawing Friday a few blocks away at the Maryland Lottery office.
He had about 60 tickets in his pocket, but he said he was afraid to check to see if he was a winner.
Lottery officials said that the winning ticket was bought at 7:15 p.m. Friday and that no winner has come forward yet. Maryland is one of the few states that doesn’t require lottery winners to be identified.
Two other winning tickets were bought in Kansas and Illinois. The three ticket holders will split the jackpot.
Bob Goss, 64, and his family drove about 22 miles from Pasadena, Md., to cash in their tickets and buy more tickets. He said his wife won about $6, far less than the cost of the gas used to drive to the store.
Inside, a Mega Millions sign lay on the floor, sideways, across from the check-out counter. Employees declined to comment, but they seemed overwhelmed by the sudden attention. “This has never happened before,” one worker told a shopper.
Carole Everett, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Lottery, said the store will receive a $100,000 bonus for selling the ticket. She added that a family had owned the store for about 10 years.
A record $11.8 million was spent on lottery tickets Friday in Maryland, beating the previous record of $5.8 million set for a single day in 2007, Everett said.
Stephen Boone, 25, of Hunt Valley said he worked down the street from the 7-Eleven and bought his ticket at another store. But he was in the 7-Eleven on Saturday, hoping some of the store’s “good luck” will rub off, Boone said.
“Man, this is crazy. Do you think the winner will show up here? I know I wouldn’t if I won,” he joked.