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Someone could win millions for Christmas
Mega Millions, Powerball games boast big jackpots this weekend
Niraj Patel of Atlanta purchases a Mega Millions lottery ticket Thursday from clerk Rhonda Reynolds at a Chevron gas station in Gainesville. The Mega Millions drawing is up to $173 million. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Customers trickled into the Chevron on E.E. Butler Parkway on Thursday afternoon, many of them stopping to pick up a stocking stuffer that could make the holidays very, very merry.

Niraj Patel of Atlanta was on his way to his family's house for the holidays when he stopped in to pick up some drinks.

When the cashier, Rhonda Reynolds, mentioned the $173 million prize in the Mega Millions jackpot, he bought a ticket. Then he decided maybe he should get two.

He laughed and promised to give $100,000 to her if he won. After that, he said he would take a few nice vacations and then go on about his life as usual.

"I'd put it in the bank and live off the interest, and just count it as ‘Hey look, no other financial stresses in life.' I wouldn't be all lavish. I can never see myself be the kind of guy who's going to spend over 10 grand on a piece of jewelry. I'm just not like that," Patel said laughing.

Two multi-million dollar prizes stand to be won over the weekend. The Mega Millions drawing is 11 tonight and the Powerball drawing is 11 p.m. Christmas Eve with a $125 million prize.

Both tickets cost only $1 a play and have options to garner more winnings for an additional dollar.

Both of the prizes have been growing since November. When no winning tickets are sold, the prize rolls over to the next drawing, growing larger over time.

Gilbert Sena of Massachusetts stopped in at the Chevron station Thursday afternoon. He also purchased a Mega Millions ticket after noticing the jackpot he could win.

"I would invest it in whatever is doing well at the moment. I would research and find out what is smart to invest in," Sena said.

Winners have the option to receive a one-time payment or to receive installments over the course of several years.


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