SACRAMENTO -- Ordinarily, Massoud Ardalan departs the Heather Farm Shell Station in Walnut Creek with pumpkin seeds during his routine weekly visits.
But with only $15 in his wallet on Wednesday, and $10 already spent on gas, he passed on the seeds, spending his remaining $5 on lottery tickets.
He shouldn't run into that issue again.
The $5 choice added millions to Ardalan's bank account. The Walnut Creek resident claimed a $22.9 million lump-sum prize with his wife of 33 years, Homeira, on Friday after purchasing the winning Super Lotto Plus ticket at the gas station at 1790 Ygnacio Valley Road.
The financial boon comes five months after a company where he worked for 16 years as a reprographics manager laid him off. Homeira Ardalan works as a hairdresser at a downtown Walnut Creek salon -- and was back at work shortly after claiming the prize Friday afternoon, though she declined to speak to a reporter.
On Wednesday, Ardalan dropped her off at the salon, then went off to look for work and stopped at the gas station. A friend called him later telling him someone from Walnut Creek won the jackpot and that he should check his ticket. On the fifth line was the life-changing combination: 1, 2, 3, 22, 34 and the Mega No. 8. The numbers were chosen randomly by computer.
"I didn't believe him," after her husband informed her of the news, Homeira told lottery officials.
Heather Farm Shell will also receive a portion of the winnings, with one-half of 1 percent, or $165,000, going to the store for selling the ticket.
The odds of winning a Super Lotto Plus jackpot are about 1 in 42 million,
Ardalan said he plans to start his own business, possibly in reprographics. He also said he wants to put his friends and family who are unemployed back to work. Also on the wish list is to buy a salon for his wife to run.
Oh, and that other thing, too.
"We can ... buy a lot of pumpkin seeds," he said. "Maybe a pumpkin seed factory."