August 31st, 2012
02:50 PM ET

$337M Powerball winner plans to keep it real

Donald Lawson intends to do the typical lottery-winner stuff: Retire, take care of his family, travel, get a new place to live.

But the 44-year-old Michigan man insists his $337 million Powerball prize - the third-largest in Powerball history, and seventh-largest jackpot in U.S. history - won’t change him.

“I’m a millionaire now, but I’ll still go to McDonald’s,” Lawson told reporters Friday at the Michigan Lottery headquarters in Lansing, where he came forward to collect on the August 15 drawing. “I don’t like filet mignon or lobster. I like the simple life, and that’s what I want to continue to do.”

Lawson, of Lapeer, was the sole winner of the August 15 prize. He chose the lump-sum cash option, which gives him $224.6 million, before tax, at once.

He said he quit his railroad engineer job after learning he won. He said he chose the winning numbers - 6, 27, 46, 51, 56 with a powerball of 21 - himself at a Sunoco gas station in Lapeer.

“I walked into the … station, and usually there ain’t nobody up there, but there was a long line. But something from above - I do have to credit that - told me to go over there and pick my own numbers. I didn’t pick them - my hand just went,” Lawson said.

Lawson said his two children will now be set for college, and he told his close relatives to retire, “and they had no problem with that.”

He said he plans to travel a lot, but for now, he’s going to “go somewhere safe and think about (what to do) and go from there.”

“This money won’t last forever unless I use it right and budget it right. It’s not a lot, $337 million,” he joked, drawing laughter, before addressing the issue of taxes. “You all think it’s tremendous amount, but I’m kind of pissed at Uncle Sam … you know?”

Eight other tickets won the $1 million Match 5 prize on August 15. Two of those tickets were bought in Indiana, and the others in Kansas, Kentucky, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Virginia, lottery officials said.

The game's largest prize to date was $365 million, which was awarded in 2006 to a group of eight co-workers at a Nebraska meat-packing plant.

That record drawing happened when the cost for a Powerball ticket was $1. In January, the price increased to $2, with officials saying it would lead to an increased number of large jackpots. At the same time, the odds improved somewhat because officials reduced the number of red balls, the powerballs, from 39 to 35.

At $337 million, the Powerball pot still has ways to go to catch MegaMillions at the top of the list of U.S. grand prizes. In March, three tickets were sold for a drawing with the top prize of $656 million.

- CNN's Chris Boyette contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Lotto • Michigan
soundoff (648 Responses)
  1. DB

    F this guy... lmao... just kidding... Wish you well with your winnings sir

    August 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dean

    A mountain cabin in the hills of Montana on a small lake or river that is only accessible with a helicopter or 4 wheeler, satellite radio and a good fishing pole or two.

    August 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • JL

      Can I join you cuz it sounds like an awesome plan!

      August 31, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ring of Fire Dude

    With that kind of money he could buy the Presidency just like Mitt Romney is trying to do .

    August 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yo Mammy

      Nice, Rang of Far. Good job. Keep on being a real m o r o n.

      August 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tyler

      I agree with Yo Mammy, Romney's spent way more than $337 million trying to buy this presidency.

      August 31, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • markishere

      He needs to learn how to steal bailout money first, before becoming a real Republican candidate.

      August 31, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      Ring of Fire, I agree with you.

      August 31, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Yo Mammy

    I would do what I think anyone else would do. Buy a nice home, a nice vehicle, and help family members who need it. I'll donate 10% to the church, too. I wouldn't have to work again, but I would like to be able to volunteer my time into something that I wanted to support, such as volunteering at a pediatric hospital, etc.

    August 31, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mikey75

    LOL @ Ring of Fire Dude – so true...but seriously, "...I'll still go to McDonalds?" LOL

    August 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MR Poor

    hey Mr Lawson since you won the lottery can i borrow $5 so i can buy a meal at Mcdonalds

    August 31, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MR Poor

    hey Mr Lawson since you won the lottery can i borrow $5 so i can buy a meal at Mcdonalds.I would forever be grateful

    August 31, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. markiejoe

    "He said he quit his railroad engineer job after learning he won."

    Then he's NOT keeping it real.

    August 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doglover

      He's keeping it real by allowing someone who needs the job to have it.

      August 31, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      How is that NOT keeping it real? Why restrict yourself with a full time job if you are rolling in that kind of dough? Don't be a sourpuss. Just keep playing.

      August 31, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. will

    Seriously? You're going to keep eating McDonalds? You'd think he'd want to live longer to enjoy what the money can buy. Guess he's more interested in gastrointestinal distress and heart disease.

    August 31, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. RichWW2

    Pretty soon this guy is going to show up on "When keeping it real goes wrong". He's going to get stabbed at McDs or held hostage or something ridiculous.

    August 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Enrique B

    DONT GET MARRIED....!!!!!

    August 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hirolla74

    Don't be leaving 250k in a duffel bag in your unlocked truck outside of a strip club anytime soon. LOL!

    August 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • sistersolja


      August 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MyFeelsMatter

    They should also have stories about the millions of people who did NOT win, just to give perspective.

    August 31, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rob

    I don't mind the winning... but PLEASE give me a break with that "divine intervention" BS...

    August 31, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. lehel

    You can't buy class...

    August 31, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
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