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Iowa man says lucky mistake led to $1 million prize

Josh Buster

Drawing Date: 4/15/2022

April 18, 2022 - A southeast Iowa man said he thinks a ticket-printing mistake was the lucky break that led to his $1 million Mega Millions® win.

Josh Buster of West Burlington said that when he asked for five easy-pick plays for Friday night’s Mega Millions drawing, the clerk at his local convenience store initially printed just one play from the lottery terminal. The clerk then asked Buster if he could print four more plays for him on a separate ticket.
“I feel like that changed the numbers that I would have gotten if he had put them all on one instead of making that mistake,” Buster said.

Buster, 40, who works as a prep chef at a Burlington restaurant, claimed his $1 million prize on Monday at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive. He said he realized early Saturday that he had won big.

“I got up to go to work early in the morning. I opened up the lottery app and scanned my tickets,” he recalled. “I always keep my tickets in the console of my car. And I scanned it in the car and freaked out and ran back inside.”

Buster said that at first, he had trouble believing what he was seeing. “I don't usually have good luck, so I thought it was a mistake and there was going to be an error,” he said. “So I Googled the lottery numbers to make sure I had the right ones, and I did! And then the rest of the day, I’m just waiting to wake up from a dream.”

Buster purchased his winning ticket at MK Mini Mart, 101 E. Mount Pleasant St. in West Burlington. His winning play came within one number of having a share of Friday’s $20 million jackpot, matching the first five numbers but missing the Mega Ball.

Buster’s win came during a very busy week for Mega Millions: There also were back-to-back jackpot winners in the game. A ticket in Minnesota matched all six winning numbers to win the $110 million jackpot in the April 12 drawing and a ticket in Tennessee then won the $20 million jackpot in Friday’s drawing.

Friday’s winning numbers were: 4-17-20-46-64 and Mega Ball 23. The Megaplier® was 4. With Friday’s jackpot being won in Tennessee, the game’s big prize remains at an estimated $20 million annuity, $11.9 million lump-sum option, for the next Mega Millions drawing on Tuesday.  

Buster’s prize is the second of at least $1 million won this year in Iowa. In January, a New Hampton couple won a $2 million Powerball® prize.

MK Mini Mart will receive a $1,000 bonus from the Iowa Lottery for selling the $1 million-winning ticket.

Buster said he likely will use some of his winnings to pay off his car and the mortgage on his mother’s house, then will put the rest away for retirement. “It will take away a lot of my stress in my life – no more of the financial worries,” he said.

Buster said he never really expected to win big. “I always wanted to!” he said. “I never thought I would, though. But I kept playing.”