A former finance worker from Arden Heights, Straten Island, picked up a New York Lottery winner's check on Tuesday and said his $7.5 million win was the result of a bout of insomnia.
Salvatore Gandolfo, 55, bought his lucky New York Lottery "Silver Spectacular" scratch-off ticket in the early hours of April 1, 2014. He should have been at home in bed, but had been kept awake by memories of the past.
"It was about 3 or 4 in the morning. I couldn’t sleep," Gandolfo said. "I woke up and ate breakfast. I put on my clothes, got in my car and drove."
Gandolfo's nocturnal travels took him to the Richmond Deli & Grocery in Mariners Harbor, and when the retiree's unscheduled ticket purchase resulted in a big win he thought he must be dreaming.
"I scanned it and it said ‘big ticket winner.’ I thought there was something wrong with the ticket," Gandolfo said. "It didn’t sink in. It didn’t register in my mind."
When the truth finally dawned on him the New York insomniac was over the moon and celebrated his good fortune by handing a $20 bill to a kid at the store and giving another stranger a $40 winning lottery ticket.
Gandolfo opted to take his winnings are a one-off lump-sum payment of $4,672,800 and said he intends to use the money to fund some travelling, buy a new car, and help out his family.