Spirit Shoppe’s Carter hits the jackpot

Josh Carter, night manager of the Spirit Shoppe, had his best day of business when most students had already left campus for spring break. As he closed the Cole Avenue liquor store at 11 p.m. on March 15, Carter bought two $5 Jumbo Bucks scratchers. What should have been a quiet end to a slow day turned into one of the most exciting moments of his life, as a scratch from his coin revealed Carter had come into a $100,000 fortune.

“I called my mom as soon as I won,” Carter said. “She thought something was wrong with me because I was freaking out. When I saw that I had won $100,000 off a scratcher I didn’t know what to do. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. It was the scariest moment of my life.”

Fortunately, Carter didn’t suffer a heart attack and even gained enough of his composure to drive to Braintree, Mass. where he redeemed his winning ticket for a $70,000 check on the spot. “Within a day I went from bumming rides and taking taxis to work everyday, to driving up in a new ride,” he said.

In addition to buying a car, Carter also used his earnings to help pay off his own bills as well as those of his girlfriend. He also invested $10,000 and gave $10,000 to his family, splitting up the sum between his parents, grandparents and two brothers.

“I went over to my parents’ house with envelopes and just handed out the money to my family,” Carter said. “It was kind of like Christmas.”

Although Carter certainly used his earnings prudently and generously, he admitted that he had grand plans when he first saw the winning amount. “I had so many thoughts running through my head when I won,” he said. “The first thing I wanted was a Dodge Charger, but that would have been like 50 or 60 grand right there.”

Not only did he not buy the Charger, Carter didn’t even change his work schedule. “If I didn’t like this job I would have quit or taken some time off,” he said. “But I really like my job. I like all the people I meet – the kids from the College and some of the older customers that come in. It’s also got a good atmosphere.” Another jackpot or not, Carter added that he has no intention of looking for a different job anytime soon.

As of next month, Carter will have worked at the Spirit Shoppe for two years. Although he was originally working as a painter in New Hampshire, Carter moved to the area to join his girlfriend. At first he looked for local painting jobs, but he was unable to find employment and instead opted to work at the liquor store.

Ironically, after winning the lottery, Carter got a second job, working part-time as a painter. “Yeah, I guess it’s kind of weird that I’ve got another job now, but once you get money, you just want more,” he said. “It’s sad to see that $70,000 go down to $10,000, so now I’m working to get it back up there.”

Carter is under no illusion that the lottery is going to boost his bank account in the same fashion. “When people win big, they go crazy,” he said. “But I’m not going to do anything stupid like that. I just play here and there.”

In fact, Carter was never an avid lotto player before the jackpot. Although he’s been playing since he was 18, he only buys tickets occasionally when he has “a few extra bucks.” Until he struck gold this year, Carter had only won $100 off lotto tickets.

But maybe fate, or “karma” as Carter suggested, had a hand in his recent winning. “On the day I won, my right hand itched,” he said. “My grandma always told me that when your right hand itches, you’re going to come into money and when your left hand itches, you’re going to lose money.”

On the day he hit the jackpot, Carter remembered his grandmother’s words, but was unsure of the specifics of the old wives’ tale. “I had forgotten the old superstition and that day I actually asked my manager, ‘if your right hand itches does it mean you’re coming into money, or is it the other way around?’”

Of course, he got the answer at 11 p.m. that night.

Since then, it’s been life as usual for Carter, despite the beefed up bank account. “The more money you get, the more people are going to hate on you,” he said. But Carter added that in general his friends were very happy to hear of his winning. “People tell me it couldn’t have happened to a better person.”

And as Carter insists, that person remains unchanged by his recent luck. “I’m no different; I’m still the same person” – although he did admit that his new Playstation 3 was keeping him up later at night.