A truck driver from Georgia who won a share of the largest lottery jackpot ever plans to buy a new fishing boat, pay off his relatives' mortgages and quit work once his first check comes in next week.
"I'm still in a fog. I just don't know what to say, I'm still in shock," Eddie Nabors told TODAY host Meredith Vieira in an exclusive interview Friday.
Nabors, 52, stopped at a Dalton, Ga., convenience store Tuesday and decided on a lark to buy $10 worth of Mega Millions lottery tickets.
"I went in to get my coffee and the marquee on the machine said it was up to $355 million," Nabors said. "I told the clerk, 'Go ahead and give me 10 quick picks today,' and she printed them out."
Nabors, who lives with his mother and has three children and six grandchildren, wasn't expecting much. In the past, he had only won a total of about $40 on instant scratch off tickets.
This time, however, things were different.
One of Nabors' computer-generated picks matched the six winning numbers and he won half of the giant jackpot, which had risen to $390 million. He accepted a giant ceremonial check for $116.5 million — his share of the winnings that he elected to take in a lump sum — which will net him an estimated $80 million after taxes. A winner who picked the same numbers in New Jersey has yet to step forward to claim his or her prize.
An avid bass fisherman, Nabors plans to buy a new boat and give his son the boat Nabors just recently bought so they can go fishing together. Nabors also plans to payoff mortgages on the homes of his mother, sister and other relatives.
Despite his newfound wealth, Nabors plans to avoid the problems that have befallen other large lottery winners. Unable to control their spending or shield their winnings from prying hands, past lottery winners have told tales of broken dreams, broken families, empty lives and even bankruptcy.
"I'm just not one of those who will change. I'm just real laid back," Nabors said. "I don't see any changes coming."
— John Springer, TODAYSHOW.com contributor