A retired fast-food cook from Flushing recently bought a “Big Bucks” instant lottery ticket “to go” - and wound up winning the top prize - a cool $1 million dollars.
Hashmatullah Karimzada purchased his winning Big Bucks scratch-off ticket at Zeel, a convenience store at 144-03 Northern Boulevard in Flushing.
The 55-year-old winner credited his wife for their good fortune. “(She) told me to buy Lottery tickets this week and she never does that,” said Karimzada through his interpreter. “It was meant to be.”
Karimzada brought his winning ticket to the Lottery’s Customer Service Center in Garden City on Thursday, March 6, just in time to start a really long weekend.
He will receive his prize in payments of $50,000 a year, less required tax withholdings, for the next 20 years.
Store owner Baba Patel said he heard about his winning sale from a customer. “We don’t get anything [for selling a winning ticket] like the regular Lottery. At least I can put a sign in the window advertising that we had a winner,” he said.
After more than nine years at the location, near Parsons Boulevard, this is the first top-prize winner Patel ever sold. “I’ve bought a few tickets myself,” he said.
Born in Afghanistan, Karimzada has lived in New York since 1986 where he had worked in a number of neighborhood restaurants, including Brooklyn’s Royal Fried Chicken, from which he recently retired.
The self-described “family guy” said he looked forward to using his considerable restaurant experience to open his own business. “Life’s decisions are much easier now,” he said.
As for his inspiration, “My wife, Nooria wants to attend school to become a hair dresser. Financial stability makes anything possible,” he said.