UPDATE (1:46 p.m.)—This week friends, neighbors and colleagues have been asking the same question: what would I do if I won hundreds of millions of dollars overnight?
The fantasy may have become a reality for someone you know.
Maryland Lottery officials learned early Saturday that one of three winnng tickets in Friday night's record-breaking Mega Millions drawing was sold in Baltimore County.
“This is truly remarkable and historic,” lottery Director Stephen Martino said in a statement. “We can’t wait to greet the winner of this world-record setting jackpot.”
The other winning tickets were sold in Illinois and Kansas, meaning three people will split the $656 million jackpot. That works out to a $218.6 million annuity ($5.59 million per year for 26 years after taxes) or $158 million cash option ($105.1 million after taxes).
Baltimore, Washington, national and international media quickly descended on the store in the 8000 block of Liberty Road in Milford Mill, where, at 7:15 p.m. Friday, one customer bought one ticket with one line of numbers: 2-4-23-38-46 and the mega ball 23.
Customers turned out, too, perhaps hoping that the winner's good luck would wear off.
"A lot of the customers have been coming," said Dorian Cunion, a Baltimore-area market manager for 7-Eleven, as he watched the festivities unfold early Saturday afternoon. "Some of the people have been calling to give congratulations to the owner."
The lottery has brought more than a smile to Cunion's face—he said the escalating Mega Millions jackpot this week has been a shot in the arm for 7-Eleven stores throughout the area. Retailers pocket five cents of each $1 ticket, and the retailer that sells the winning ticket pockets a $100,000 bonus.
Another winner with Friday's drawing: the state government's coffers. According to lottery officials, the Milford Mill winner would owe $13.4 million in state taxes if he or she selects the cash option.
The winner hasn't stepped forward yet, but a few pranksters have, The Baltimore Sun reports, as doctored pictures of winning tickets quickly made the rounds on social media sites.
The $656 million jackpot is by far the largest lottery prize ever doled out. Maryland has been home to several big winners in recent years, most recently 2007, when Elwood "Bunky" Bartlett of Dundalk, shared a $330 million prize with three others.
Maryland's last Mega Millions win was a $24 million prize claimed by a Baltimore woman in 2008.
"I'm just glad it's from my neighborhood," said Jennifer Jones, a Milford Mill resident, as she left the 7-Eleven and stepped into her truck. "Most of the time it's someone from the Midwest."
Before the drawing, Dundalk Patch asked locals should they win.
A number of residents shared dreams of philanthropy and quitting current jobs.
"I wish more people won it, I really do," said Wanda Tyler of Milford Mill, as she walked out of 7-Eleven on Saturday. And if she had won the millions, she said, "I would have shared that money six ways from Sunday, it isn't even funny ... whoever won that money, I would pray they do the right thing."
What if you won? What should you do? .
Pikesville Patch editor Janet Metzner contributed to this story.