Lotto winner on lucky streak

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – The big winner, Robert Redden sat at home on Thursday afternoon. He said this is life; nothing has changed, he’s just a little more relaxed and a whole lot richer.

One million dollars richer to be exact, Redden won the Hoosier Lottery’s Millions. “I just thought ‘oh wow, that’s neat.” Redden said.

Redden said he’s spent the last seven years and about seven-thousand-dollars playing the lotto. In the last two and a half years, unemployed Redden said he bought multiple tickets each week and finally, his persistence paid off.

Over the years, Redden has won before but those wins were only worth two-dollars. “I’ve hit that a lot of times,” Redden said. “So it’s like you put three bucks in and get two bucks basically that’s about it, nothing gigantic.”

Then, ten days ago his luck changed, he just didn’t know it  at the time and he almost missed out on the million dollar prize.   

On Monday December 5th Redden went into the Phillips 66 gas station on East Center Street in Warsaw, just like he does every week, Redden went in to buy a few lottery tickets.

ThreeMega Millions tickets, he used different combinations of his, his kids’, and his mother’s birthdays for two of the tickets, and then he let the computer generate numbers for the third.

The winner was announced the same night he purchased the tickets, but out of town, Redden forgot to check his numbers. The next day, his girlfriend called and told him a million dollar ticket had been sold from the gas station where he bought his ticket.

“I said well it wasn’t me because I had already checked my numbers and I had just left it at that.” Redden said he looked and the two tickets he picked the numbers for and got nothing, the third was in his wallet. Redden said didn’t know it was even in there until he went to pay for another round of lottery tickets.

“I saw another ticket sitting there and I said well it’s a Mega Million that I forgot to check,” Redden said he started to compare the numbers, 7-21-29… “I looked at the first three numbers and I went thank you Jesus, because I knew right then and there that was the winning ticket.”

Redden said he immediately called his girlfriend to tell her the big news, when she answered he shouted, “It was me!”

Looking at the caller ID on her cell phone, his girlfriend was not surprised, “She said well dummy, I know it’s you because it says it on the phone and that’s when I said no, it’s me. I have the million dollar ticket.”

Redden said she could not stop screaming and they both drove home to compare the numbers together. As soon as their disbelief faded, Redden said his girlfriend asked, “So what are you going to do now?” To which he replied, “I’m going to get my money.”

Redden signed the back of the winning ticket and made a copy of it. After some thought, the two agreed to wait a few days before cashing it in or telling anyone about the big win.

On Friday, five days after the winning ticket was sold Redden said people’s curiosity got the best of him. Back at the gas station, Redden said he overheard one man who said “Someone from Warsaw won a million dollars; I wonder when they will come forward?” Busting with excitement, Redden was ready to break his silence, “I looked at him and said it’s me and they laughed at me.”

But they weren’t laughing for long, on Monday Redden accepted one big, one-million-dollar cardboard check. Redden said, “The big check you don’t keep, that’s their promotional check.” He did however get to keep a little more than seven-hundred-thousand-dollars, the winnings after taxes.

Redden said that’s more than what he would have made in 15 years at his last job and now he can stop looking for work.

“With this I really don’t think I have to go back to work, I mean I hope I’m smart enough with it so I wouldn’t have to go back to work.”

And with his luck, he probably won’t have to. When Redden realized he won the million he was at the gas station, as planned he bought more lottery tickets. The next day he hit the second biggest jackpot he’s gotten in the last seven years, five-hundred-dollars.

Redden said at first he wasn’t sure what to do with all the money, “The ironic part of all this, all my Christmas shopping was done before I even bought the ticket.”

A much richer man, Redden said he will buy everyone one more nice present and as he goes in and out of the stores he’ll drop bills into the Salvation Amy bell ringers’ buckets instead of change. The rest, he said he will invest, “I want this money to make me money.”

But other people want him to go out and blow his winnings; in fact they expect it. One friend asked, “What are you doing driving that car?” Redden said he replied, “Well there is nothing wrong with this one, don’t need a new one.”

So far, Redder said he has only spent two-hundred-dollars on little things around the house. He has no plans to move or to make any big purchases with one exception, a new air conditioner for his house so he doesn’t have to spend another summer without central air.

Redden said, “I don’t think I have to worry about roasting next summer. There will be ice in the window in July around here.”

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