The winner of Washington state's final $250,000 prize in the "Shot of a Lifetime" COVID-19 vaccine lottery almost missed out on his winnings.
Stephen T. of Walla Walla won the prize money in Washington Lottery's latest drawing on June 29. Stephen said he got the call from a number with a 253 area code and let it go to voicemail, thinking it was a scam. Luckily, one of his colleagues encouraged him to call the number back after hearing the message and Stephen said he's "sure glad he did."
"When we finished the meeting, I played the voicemail in the room and three of the guys said that has to be a scam, and I didn’t really know that the program was going on, but one of the guys said they’re not asking for money or anything personal…. you should call them back, just in case," said Stephen in a statement Thursday. "So I did and I’m sure glad I did! They told me to search for the 'Shot of a Lifetime' on the Internet so I knew it wasn’t a scam, and I did and then I called the main Lottery number, and they told me it was really real. I didn’t believe it at first and still kind of don’t, but I think it’s great that the state is doing this, because it really helps give people another big reason to get their shots. I just hope more and more people get vaccinated because it’s really important."
Stephen is in his 30s and works in the food service industry. He is a husband and father to a young daughter. He added in his statement, "My wife and I never gamble, never bet, but this just proves that even the little guy can win sometimes."
Of the 247 prizes available in this week's drawing for adults, 126 have been claimed as of noon on Thursday, Washington Lottery officials said. Besides the $250,000 cash prize, the prizes include 44 Microsoft Xboxes, three Nintendo Switch packs, nine Amazon Echo Dots, 53 Discover Passes, and 10 Washington State Parks camping gift cards.
This week's drawing was the fourth and final drawing for the $250,000 cash prize. There will be no drawings the week of July 5.
The final drawing for Washingtonians, which includes a $1 million grand prize, will take place on Tuesday, July 13.
The state recently announced a new COVID-19 vaccine lottery specifically for veterans and military members -- the first drawing for "A Heroes Thanks" lottery is set for Tuesday, July 20.