Oak Parker Souksavanh Phomphakoy got the ultimate Halloween treat this year: An $8.75 million check from the Illinois Lottery.
With the six winning numbers 04-13-18-19-28-45, Phomphakoy, 34, was the winner of the Oct. 19 jackpot. He will split with his uncle, Khamphovy Chanthavong, who gave him the opportunity to move to the United States from Southeast Asia over 10 years ago. Chanthavong is a Southeast Asian refugee who moved to the U.S. during the Vietnam War.
"I could not have come here without my uncle's help and I am extremely grateful," Phomphakoy said in a news release from the Illinois Lottery.
A regular Lotto player, Phomphakoy was with a friend when he bought his ticket at the Clark gas station at 330 Chicago Ave. in Oak Park, according to the release. The day after the drawing, his friend read that someone from Oak Park had won and told him to check to see if the numbers matched. After finding the winning numbers on Facebook, he immediately told his uncle the news.
"I told my uncle right away and at first he didn't believe me. Once I showed him the ticket he became speechless. When I told him I wanted to share the winnings with him, he hugged me tightly," he said.
Phomphakoy, who studies English at Triton College in River Grove, has been working as a manager at his uncle's restaurant in Oak Park for the past 10 years. He plans to buy a house and enroll in additional courses with his winnings, according to the release.Phomphakoy accepted his check alongside his sister, Am Thao, his uncle and his aunt, Khamphoudi Chanthavong. Phomphakoy said Thursday that his sister has been hugging him everyday since they found out the news.
He will take the money as a lump sum, which will be about $6.12 million.
Their family wasn't the only group with some luck in the Oct. 19 drawing, though. Clark Oak Park owner Daljit Singh accepted a check for one percent, $87,500, as a bonus for selling the winning ticket. Singh, who owns a second gas station in Oak Park, said he plans to use the money to reinvest in his business.
Check back with Patch for updates and video from the check presentation.