Dave Harper is not what you imagine when you picture an instant millionaire.
After being handed his giant novelty cheque Wednesday Harper answered a few questions from reporters. But the front-load garbage truck he drives was left running outside. He had to get back to work as soon as this was done.
Harper, who works for General Waste Management, won the jackpot Dec. 17 using a Lotto 6/49 quick pick ticket. The $3.5 million is the second largest jackpot ever won in the territory.
The long-time Yukoner and Marsh Lake resident said he’s so far resisted the urge to go out and spend the windfall all at once.
What he wants from the money can be summed up pretty simply he said:
“Debt free, new roof on the house and long term. I’m thinking long term.”
It’s that last point that Harper is most focused on, leaving something for his 22 and 24-year-old daughters.
“The biggest thing for me doing this is long term for my kids. Three months ago I was like, ‘I’m going to have nothing other than a pile of bills after I pass away for them.’ Now, geez, I better get healthy so I can stick around.”
Spending the money right away seemed kind of foolish, he said. For now the plan is to go back to work.
“I’m turning 48 in March, if I stopped working now I would either be dead or broke by the time I’m 55. So I might as well keep on working,” he said.
Harper has lived in the Yukon most of his life since moving North from Edmonton with his parents in the 70s.
He has no plans on moving anywhere.
He said he plays the lottery every week, always with the random numbers chosen by the computer.
“Special numbers mean special things to special people but I don’t care. Give me my lottery ticket,” he said.
The winning ticket was part of a $20 Super Pack Harper bought at Takhini Gas on the North Klondike Highway.
The randomly chosen numbers - 2, 5, 15, 20, 38 and 39 - won just over $7 million. Harper split the prize with a winner from B.C.
He first checked the numbers online and then went to the gas station in McCrae to confirm what his eyes were telling him.
“Bought the ticket on Wednesday, checked the ticket Thursday night, technically Thursday afternoon, and like I said I’ve been waiting to wake up ever since.”
After finding out that he’d won, Harper went to Edmonton to hand over his ticket so lottery officials could do the official confirmation.
After that he stopped by the city’s mega mall.
“The neat part about West Edmonton Mall is that it has a shooting range in it. So I went shooting for a while, as kind of a therapy of some sort,” he said.
A normal-sized cheque went to the bank. Harper gets to keep the big one that was part of Wednesday’s event.
From the looks of things, lottery officials are going to have to bring out the giant novelty Yukon chequebook again soon.
Western Canada Lottery Corporation officials confirmed Thursday that a $1 million Lotto 6/49 guaranteed prize ticket from Wednesday night’s draw was sold in Whitehorse.
That winner hasn’t been identified yet.
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