Freedom 55 came to Terry Hostikka in an instant on Wednesday.
The 55-year-old Brantford, Ont., resident is set to become a multi-millionaire after his June 30 Lotto 6-49 ticket turned out to be a huge winner — unofficially netting him $16,194,489.
“I’ve been shaking like a leaf,” he said from the front step of his home on Wednesday afternoon. “I had to come home and have a few beers.”
Hostikka plans a trip to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) office in Toronto on Thursday morning to claim his fortune.
“I was too excited to go in today — and I was going to get drunk.”
The OLG won’t confirm the win until Hostikka brings in the ticket and photo identification, spokesman Don Pister said Wednesday.
“I can confirm that the winning ticket was sold in Brantford and that ticket was validated at an OLG retailer today,” Pister added.
Saturday’s $32,388,978 Lotto 6-49 jackpot was shared by two tickets. Pister said the other ticket was sold in Woodbridge, Ont., and that winner has yet to come forward.
When an employee of the Esso where Hostikka bought the winning ticket, scanned the ticket, it shut down the main lottery terminal and instructed them to call the OLG office.
“I called and asked how much he’d won,” said Esso employee Joey Kitchen.
“She wouldn’t tell me. I ran the ticket through the machine and the number came up. I told Terry he’d won $16 million.
“I handed him the ticket and he froze. His hand was shaking. He couldn’t hold the phone.”
Hostikka said he was stunned as he got into his car and drove to the beer store, returning to the gas station to talk to the owners.
Hostikka said he has been a longtime lottery player, usually spending $3 a week for a Quick Pick with Encore. His biggest win had been $20.
A former worker at a cement plant, Hostikka has been collecting disability payments since he injured his back, and has lived alone since his wife died three years ago.
A car enthusiast who said he has never owned a new vehicle, Hostikka said he is plans to buy his dream car — a new Dodge Challenger.
He also has been considering a move to a small home up north. Those retirement plans were suddenly upgraded on Wednesday.
“Now I’ll be looking for a house on the lake. I’ll be fishing and hunting. Living the good life.”by